A funny thing happened to Sir Ian McKellen on the way to the theatre today: he fell trying to catch a train and hurt his leg. (This is funny only because it means even Sir Ian McKellen takes the train to work. What.) His injury led to the cancellation of that afternoon’s performance of King Lear, but instead of turning the audience away, McKellen sat for questions from the audience for over an hour, because he knows what the people want. As one audience member wrote on Instagram, “Determined to give the audience something, he spoke for over an hour about his life, career and love of acting, in particular of Shakespeare to a full house. It was utterly spontaneous, completely natural, and deeply touching. The theatre was full of love and compassion. Check out the actors and stage managers in the wings. We hunched there, delighted. And, the giant of a human will be performing tonight.”
Among the questions McKellen reportedly answered: No, he does not approve of using microphones in the theatre, he became an actor because it’s the only thing he’s good at and he likes to show off, and his advice to aspiring actors? “Don’t.” Also he apparently “Gandalfed twice and acted several Shakespeare scenes off the top of his head.” It may not have been King Lear, but it did earn him a standing ovation.