Bard on the Beach's King Lear a role that 'everything else is training for'

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?” Benedict Campbell makes debut in lead role of King Lear at Bard on the Beach.

Benedict Campbell will be performing at Bard on the Beach for the first time

Benedict Campbell gets set to star in Bard on the Beach's production of King Lear. (Bard on the Beach)

It is one of Shakespeare's most well known tragedies and it hits Vancouver's Bard on the Beach stage tonight. King Lear tells the story of a king in decline who mistakenly fails to split his kingdom equally amongst all his daughters.

It's a role Benedict Campbell has been dreaming about.

"It's the sort of part that everything else is training for," he told the Early Edition's Stephen Quinn.

"If it comes along, you got to snap it up while it's there. It's something I've always wanted to do."

Benedict Campbell's father, Doug, played the role in past performances to much acclaim. That performance even left a lasting impact on another one of Canada's most famous thespians.

According to Colm Feore, who played Lear in Toronto's Stratford Festival's production of the play last year, Doug's role as Lear left an indelible mark on his performance of the character. Benedict says he initially worried about a similar effect on him.

"I was very conscience when I was asked to do it with a sort of mild panic that I would just be a cheap imitation of my father. You quickly lose that in rehearsal … every once in a while I hear it in my own voice and think 'oh, that sounds exactly like dad.'"

Shakespeare on the West Coast

Campbell will be making his debut on the Bard on the Beach stage this year after performing for over a decade at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario.

He says he's already becoming a fan of Shakespeare on the West Coast.

"I guess I was expecting something more in the wilds, though it is, as you get the beauty of Vancouver in the background," he said of the stage located in Vanier Park.

"The theatre itself is extraordinary intimate and has a wonderful feedback that I've really really enjoyed of the previews we've done so far."

The play opens up Thursday night and runs until September 20, 2015.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: King Lear a role of dreams, says Benedict Campbell.



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