A CUT ABOVE THE REST
WHEN COMEDIAN and rising American TV star Eddie Izzard played the legendary Jewish comedian, Lenny Bruce, on the London stage in 1999, there was just one flaw in what was otherwise considered to be an excellent performance.
In the scene where Izzard’s Bruce appeared naked, close observers could not help but notice that Izzard had understandably decided against portraying his Jewish subject in every detail, and had opted not to be circumcised.
But no such detail has been overlooked for the forthcoming world premier of Antony Sher’s latest play, The Giant, which opens next week at North London’s Hampstead Theatre.
The play imagines that Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were both up for the commission to sculpt David and that a young quarryman called Vito modelled for what would become one of the world’s greatest sculptures.
As Vito was almost certainly gentile, the instruction went out to the casting director to audition only uncircumcised actors for the play which contains nudity. “The auditions were not naked”, Sher assures.
The drama schools were scoured and congratulations must go to Stephen Hagan who has landed his debut role.
Of course, if Michelangelo had been historically accurate in his portrayal of David, the casting problem would have been altogether different.
Eddie Izzard: not Jewish enough