My friend once soaked in oil, now drowned in drama took up his burden… No, it’s not a burden to him… finding a way to make King Lear come to life on stage is a sheer joy to him. And this morning we focused on never lapsing into singing or intoning the words – it sends people to sleep. I reminded him of my time on stage with Richard Burton as Hamlet – long ago. Richard, on an off night, would arrive late, stroll on stage and intone his speeches, sometimes very fast to get home, and after you’d got over his knock-out sexiness and his lovely, rich, baritone voice… it would lull you like a bag-pipe drone and send you to sleep; you’d wake with a start and realise you’d missed half the previous scene. I said to Robert this morning (he’s the guy who wants to give us his Lear) let’s not do that. Let’s look for all the changes of thought and emotion and vivid living that Shakespeare’s written for the character of Lear – especially as he gets madder and madder… and desperately, so painfully tries not – NOT – to go potty. It was an especially good morning given that Robert had just revisited Paris with his wife to celebrate a long-ago, first time, first everything with new bride… same hotel, same favourite restaurant, same night-spot! I wonder if Bernard Shaw ever treated any woman as exquisitely romantically… for all his support of the sex and his strenuous feminism?