Year Of The Fat Knight

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05 LAST2015050820150509 (R4)

After a year of rehearsing Falstaff, Antony Sher's fat knight is revealed to the public.

Antony Sher recounts the year in which he created and performed his version of Shakespeare's Falstaff - despite never intending to undertake such an iconic role.

Thirty years ago, a promising young actor published his account of preparing for and playing the role of Richard III. Antony Sher's Year of the King has since become a classic of theatre literature.

In 2014, Sher - now in his sixties - was cast as Falstaff in Gregory Doran's Royal Shakespeare Company production of the two parts of Henry IV. Both the production and Sher's Falstaff were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, with Sher winning the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.

Year of the Fat Knight is Antony Sher's account of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare's best-known and most popular characters.

He tells us how he had doubts about playing the part at all; how he sought to reconcile Falstaff's obesity, drunkenness, cowardice and charm; how he wrestled with the fat suit needed to bulk him up; and how he explored the complexities and contradictions of this comic yet often dangerous personality.

On the way, Sher paints a uniquely close-up portrait of the RSC at work.

Read by Antony Sher

Produced by Clive Brill

A Brill Production for BBC Radio 4.