The madness and the man
Up close and personal with Colm Feore, who tackles one of Shakespeare’s most challenging roles, King Lear, at this season’s Stratford Festival by Ron Johnson
Colm Feore acts. He does it in Hollywood blockbuster films, small but compelling roles in Canadian TV and, first and foremost, as a member of the Stratford Festival of Canada. This summer, Feore, coming off a bad-guy role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, stars in King Lear— one of Shakespeare’s most challenging roles. What was your first reaction when approached with the possibility of doing the role of King Lear at Stratford this season? What a terrible idea. It’s a dumb thing to do. But it’s crazy enough to work. I wish I’d done it at 35. It is way too hard to do properly; it is a roller coaster of physical and emotional stamina. But I’m really glad that I’m getting to do it now. Why are people still interested in seeing King
Lear, and how is it still relevant? It is simply the finest play probably ever written. It speaks most directly to us as civilized communal beings, as evolved mammals who came down from the trees, nurturing, nursing, petting each other to develop in ways that are communal, gregarious, engaged. Lear is all about family, tribe, community.… It is relevant to all of us every day. We need simple, unvarnished truth. You had to miss the premiere of The Amazing
Spider-Man 2 for rehearsals. That must have
been tough. That was a pesky problem. I thought maybe I could just get out of it, have someone else read the lines. I had a very disappointed 17-year-old on my hands who was planning on whisking Andrew Garfield away from Emma Stone. You have quite the reputation for playing bad guys in film. Who’s your favourite? Oh they are all fun. It’s not bad to be a frost
giant in Thor; that was fun. But my guy in Spider-Man, he’s not evil, he’s just controlling. He has a plan, and if you get in the way, that’s a problem. What originally inspired you to pursue acting? My parents, God bless them, took it as some sort of endorsement that I got accepted into such an exclusive venue as the National Theatre School. So, I thought, well, why not give it a try. By the time I finished, I had a craft, a tiny piece of paper stating that I’d been there a while, nothing else. I set to work on an apprenticeship, and I’ve worked ever since, partly through desire and partly that I’ve finally been doing this so long I can’t think of anything else to do. What’s your fondest memory of Stratford? I’m making new memories there every day. I anticipate that what will become my fondest memory will be show day,
when there is a matinee of King Lear and an evening performance of my wife’s
Crazy for You, with my children in attendance. So, I can say, ‘Kids, this is what your crazy parents have been doing. We need you to go out and become doctors and lawyers or whatever else.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year ( June 13 to 22, 2014), the North by Northeast Festival (NXNE) remains the perfect platform for emerging artists and majorlabel headliners. Although some of NXNE’s alumni include huge chart-topping bands, such as Barenaked Ladies and Broken Social Scene, other less highprofile bands deserve mention. One band in particular had a hit that helped define the ’90s — NXNE alum and Toronto pop group Len.
Len was founded by siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo and are best known for their sugarysweet pop hit “Steal My Sunshine,” which coincidentally celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
The brother-sister duo released their first album,
Superstar, in 1995 and secured a spot performing at the NXNE
festival that year. Back then, the musical climate was teeming with funky pop bands such as S Club 7 and Sugar Ray. Len had no problems fitting in.
Recently, NXNE festival reps have even paid homage to Len on the NXNE website with a throwback to 1995 stating, “Len also played … because it was the nineties.”