Monday, October 31, 2005

William Hutt

I meant to post about this on Friday, but better late than never.

The performance of The Tempest on Friday, October 28, was the closing performace of that production at the Stratford Festival, and it was also the final performance of William Hutt on the Festival Stage. He is retiring after a career that has spanned six decades, most of them in Canada, and most of them on the Stratford stage. As I noted in my postings about my trip to Stratford last August,

I can’t count the number of plays I’ve seen here starting in 1970, and how many plays I’ve seen with William Hutt: King Lear, The Imaginary Invalid, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Tartuffe, and even in drag as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. All of his roles were insightful and met the highest criterion of the actor’s craft: he became the character. Last night I didn’t think of him as Willam Hutt playing Prospero; he was Prospero.

Shakespeare provided him with a perfect exit in the epilogue of the play as he humbly asks for the approval of the audience for the masque we’ve just seen:

As you from crimes would pardoned be
Let your indulgence set me free.

Then he turned and slowly walked upstage and through the door and into the comfort and quiet off stage.

It is always good to appreciate a fine craftsman and artist, especially while they are still around to hear it, and so I say thank you to Mr. Hutt for all the magical hours. Enjoy your retirement; you have earned it.