______________________________________________________________________________     
 

part 2 (2010---)


Christopher Walken made his Broadway stage debut as a chorus dancer in 1964. In 1966 he appeared in the role of King Philip of France in "The Lion in Winter" and also appeared in revival of William’s "The Rose Tattoo" that year. Mr. Walken alternated working in films and appearing onstage at Lincoln Center and in regional theater productions. He appeared in many of the great Shakespearean roles -- Macbeth, Romeo, Bassanio, Coriolanus, Iago and Mark Antony. In the 1982 season at The American Shakespeare Theatre he also appeared in "Henry IV, Part 1" as Henry Percy and Hotspur.

"I grew up in show business," says Walken. "I was in musicals until I was twenty-five. That's my training. I went to different places and studied. Basically when you work with certain actors, like Irene Worth, that's the best. The good ones always show you everything." link (The Magic of Theater)
 


Awards for Theatre:

Won:
1966 Theatre World Award for The Rose Tattoo
1966 Clarence Derwent Award for The Lion in Winter
1970 Joseph Jefferson Award - Jeff Award for The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail
1970 Drama Desk Awards - Outstanding Performance for Lemon Sky
1975 Off-Broadway Theater Awards - Obie Award for Kid Champion
1981 Off-Broadway Theater Awards - Obie Award for The Seagull
1994 Shakespeare Theater - Will Award given to him for contributions to classical theater
Joseph Papp's Public Radio Theatre - Susan Stain Shiva Award

Nominated:
1975 Joseph Jefferson Award - Jeff Award: Best Guest Artist for Sweet Bird of Youth
2000 Tony Awards - Best Actor in a Musical for James Joyce's The Dead
2010 Tony Awards - Best Actor in a Play for James Joyce's The Dead


 

 

          

 

The Climate of Eden (52/Martin Beck Theatre NY) ... Burton
  J.B (12/11/58-ANTA Theater)....David

 

Best Foot Forward (4/2/63-Stage 73 Theater) ...Clayton "Dutch" Miller
 

Walken trained there to be a dancer, not an actor.  And less than a year into his studies at Hofstra University, he dropped out after landing a part in a 1963 Off Broadway musical called Best Foot Forward .  "I just got up and left one day because that's what I wanted," he says.  "It was probably for the best, because I knew I was neve going to be a rocketscientist." 
LIZA MINNELLI played the role of Ethel Hofflinger alongside a very young Christopher Walken in BEST FOOT FORWARD. It was Minelli's first stage success.
"I got a part in Best Foot Forward and I went to work. The job was more important than school. I just went to work." (CW)

Walken and Kay Cole singing "A Raving Beauty"
      Glenn and Christopher Walken, Edmund Gaynes: "Three Men on a Date"

This is the musical for which Walken left his year-long stint in the ROTC program at Hofstra University at age 20 (major English, then toying a career as teacher). It was with this "do it yourself" attitude he left formal education behind to pursue performance through actual jobs and learn how to stay in the ring. 
Director and choreographer Danny Daniels had taught tap dancing to the Walken brothers some 8 years before. He would later choreograph Herbert Ross' last musical for MGM, Pennies from Heaven (1981), and recommend Walken for the pivotal role of Tom, the sinister tap-dancing pimp who tempts Bernadette Peters into selling her booty during the Depression.
Walken, in an interview, recalled the fond memories of dancing with Judy Garland at a cast party for Best Foot Forward. Brother Glenn, 2 years Chris' junior, was also in the musical as Bud Hopper, a star-struck, naive young man who asked a "Queen of the B-Movies" to meet him at a hotel.
www.playbillvault.com/Person/Detail/48399/Christopher-Walken (synopsis, Walken-roles, cast and more infos)


    
click to enlarge left pic

     

 

High Spirits (4/17/64-Alvin Theater)....chorus  

 

   
  West Side Story (64-touring production)....Riff  
 
(where Walken met his later wife Georgianne) siehe Biografie!
"As a matter of fact, we met doing a summer tour of
West Side Story. I was Riff, the head of the Jets,
and she was Graciela, his girlfriend." (CW)
     

 

Baker Street (2/16/65- Broadway Theater)....Killer (chorus)  
  Walken's name was changed from Ronald to Christopher by his Broadway musical "Baker Street" co-star Monique Van Vooren.
     

 

The Lion In Winter (3/3/66-Ambassador Theater)....Philip, King of France
   
(Clarence Derwent Award)
 

A casting director asked Walken to audition for the Broadway play The Lion in Winter.
"I didn't know how to act," said Walken. When the company tried out in Boston, Walken was awful. "It was fear," he said. The producer decided to fire Walken, but he begged for three more days to improve. The show's star, the late Robert Preston, showed Walken how to relax, and  as a result he won the Clarence Derwent Award for best nonfeatured performance by an unknown actor.
"Everyone thought I was this great actor because I won this award," Walken said. "I wore tights in the show, so they figured I could play Shakesepeare." He was invited to Canada to play Romeo. "I really stunk," he said."They were furious. Not only was this guy an American, he can't act." (CW, Parade-Mag, 1997)

     

 

Measure For Measure (7/12/66- Delacorte Theater)....Claudio
     
click to enlarge
 
     

 

The Rose Tattoo (10/20/66- NYC Center)....Jack Hunter (Theater World Award)
       
click to enlarge
     

 

The Unknown Soldier And His Wife (7/6/67- Beaumont Abbott Theaters)....Unknown Soldier
 

A play by Peter Ustinov that was first presented in New York in 1967.  The cast included Christopher Walken,
Brian Bedford, Howard DaSilva, and Nancy Readon. It sweeps from ancient Rome to medieval England to modern times,
with links provided by recurring characters who emerge whenever war comes and who controls its course.

       

       

       

     

 

Iphigenia in Aulis (11/21/67- Circle Theater)....Achilles
 
  with Irene Papas; click to enlarge( 2) Press Articles and more
 
 
     

 

Romeo And Juliet (06/10/68-Stratford)...Romeo  
 

" I was raised on Stratford. I remember going there when I was 18 and falling in love with Christopher Walken as Romeo. I had a lot of dreams surrounding these people." (Rosemary Dunsmore, Schauspielerin). "I saw Walken at Stratford, Ontario, in 1968 when he was 25; he was the most beautiful young man I've ever seen in person (he had a 'not-quite-human' look of perfection). His main role was Romeo opposite Louise Marleau (...) . Most post-performance discussions were about which of the two was more beautiful (they both had very heavy [post-"Cleopatra"] eye makeup). "
"Panned by most reviews, [von der Kritik zerrissen] Romeo and Juliet drew only moderate, 78-per-cent crowds during its run. Louise Marleau had taken a crash course in English, but her speaking was inadequate - monotonously high-pitched and so heavily accented as often to be incomprehensible. Christopher Walken's Romeo was also generally considered weak, with Walter Kerr describing him as "the politest Romeo I ever saw - polite to his elders, polite to his inferiors, polite to the moon. You don't meet his mother, of course; but you can perfectly well hear her, upon discovering that mess in the tomb, saying, 'I just don't understand it, he wasn't the kind of boy to give trouble.'" (John Pettigrew and Jame Portman)
"Christopher Walken is clearly a rising star, but has little experience...evident in the narrowness of his ranges of gesture, intonation, and expression. But inexperience can have charming results as it often did in the production...Romeo never really got off the ground with his more lyrical passages, and frequently lost the rhythm and meaning. (...)...If Romeo and Juliet did not speak like angels, they certainly looked like them...Romeo, unbewigged and refreshingly fair-haired, looked like everyone's idea of Shelley, and clearly brought out the maternal instincts (and others far from maternal) in ladies in the audience.[weckte mütterliche und andere Gefühle beim weiblichen Publikum]..The 1920 costumes ...especially with Romeo, have intensified the play's romanticism." (John Pettigrew)

Die Kritik fiel also nicht immer positiv aus. Für Walken selbst eine kleine Enttäuschung. "I never knew why I got the job.
But I always suspected it was because I`d done a job where I wore tights." Dann aber, mit der Zähigkeit seines Vaters,
begann er hart an sich zu arbeiten, z.B. unter Lee Strasberg.
click to enlarge (5)

     click (6)

          

     

 

A Midsummer Nights Dream (06/12/68-Stratford)....Lysander
 
   
     

 

The Three Musketeers (07/23/68 -Stratford)....Felton/Musketeer

 

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead (2/10/69) ....Rosencrantz
 

    (Parker Playhouse, Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Tom Stoppard's first and perhaps most famous full-length play, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead presents
a worm's-eyeview of a classical tragedy, Shakespeare's Hamlet, as filtered through the existential sensibilities of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
(click)

 

     

 

Julius Caesar (Summer/69-San Diego Shakespeare Festival)....Mark Antony
   
left pic: click to enlarge
 
     

 

Comedy Of Errors (Summer/69-San Diego Shakespeare Festival) ....Antipholus de Syracuse
   
click to enlarge   
 
     

 

Macbeth (Summer/69-San Diego Shakespeare Festival)....Macduff

 

The Chronicles of Hell (10/69-APA Rep., Ann Arbor, MI)....Sodomati

 

 

 

Lemon Sky (5/17/70- Ivanhoe Theater, Chicago)....Alan  
   

   

      click (6)
 Nach Lanford Wilson (autobiografisch) 

     

 

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1/18/70-Goodman Theater, Chicago) ....H.D.Thoreau
     (Joseph Jefferson Award)

     
click
     

 

Scenes from an American Life (3/25/71-The Forum)       
  click to enlarge  
 

Scenes from American Life is a collection of nearly forty short scenes connected by scraps of period music, each scene showing a glimpse of life in upper-middle-class Buffalo over the course of about fifty years. A few of the characters appear in more than one scene, but most do not. Most of the characters are not even named; each is instantly recognizable, however, by his or her type.

 
 

 

 The Tale of Cymbeline (8/17/71-Delacorte Theater) ....Posthumus Leonatus
   
a play by William Shakespeare/ click
 
     
  Caligula (11/25/71-Yale Repertory Theater)....Caligula
   Metamorphosis (4/8/72-American Place Theater)....Georg in The Judgement Act
   The Palace at 4am (8/72-John Drew Theater, E. Hampton, NY)....Oedipus
   
   Enemies (11/9/72- Beaumont Theater)....Sintsov, a clerk  
 
 
a play by Maxim Gorky
     
   The Plough and the Stars (1/4/73- Beaumont Theater)....Jack Clitheroe
        
click to enlarge 
     
   The Merchant of Venice (4/1/73-Beaumont Theater) ....Bassanio
   
     
   Dance of Death/Miss Julie (5/11/73-Long Wharf, New Haven, CT)
   Houdini Musical (7/73-Lenox Art Center, Lenox, MA)...Harry Houdini
   
     
    Troilus and Cressida (12/2/73-Mitzi E.Newhouse Theater/Lincoln)....Achilles
  click to enlarge
with Charles Kimbrough, produced by Joseph Papp's NY Shakespeare Festival
An evening at the theater: We were riveted by a young actor named Christopher Walken. “Now, that guy has a future!”
     
   The Tempest (2/10/74-Newhouse Theater)....Antonio
   Macbeth (4/13/74-Newhouse Theater)...Macbeth  
  "The role that I came away from with the most muscle was the one that I failed [ziemlich scheiterte] in: Macbeth. It's probably the most terrible role ever written, terrible in the literal sense of terrifying and enormous. This is a role that makes as many requirements [Anforderungen] on you as anything could. I played it at Lincoln Center for ten weeks [in 1974], eight shows a week, and I did not succeed [war nicht sehr glorreich] at all. Ten weeks' work, and we never even got reviewed, except by one.... " (CW)
"But I never regretted [bedauerte] doing it for a minute, because I came away from the production with this tremendous [enormen Einsicht] insight about myself and about acting that I could not possibly have gotten anywhere else. It was taking on that monster and being trounced [geprügelt] by it, but still learning something. That's what actors mean when they talk about stretching." (CW) 
Christopher Lloyd played the role of "Banquo" in this production, which ran for 82 previews from April 13 to June 23, 1974.
Performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the production also starred Carol Kane and Peter Weller.
click to enlarge pics (3)

     
     
   Hamlet (10/16/74 -Center Playhouse, Seattle, WA)....Hamlet
  This production took place on Mars or something - the costumes were strange, it was a very strange thing...it was what they call a concept production. I was not happy with it.'' (CW)
"We were all dressed up like for Star Trek, with big pointed shoulders. I got into huge arguments, but I would be told, 'People are tired of seeing Hamlet - you have to make it a little different for them.' This way of doing Shakespeare in this country is of such epidemic proportions that if anybody did a classic production of the play it would be like a new thing. It's insanity." (CW)
 Videointerview (1994) Walken on Hamlet from "Playing the Dane"

    
click to enlarge (2)
     
   Kid Champion (1/28/75-Public/Anspacher) (Obie Award)
  I was a monster. I was the biggest bastard that ever lived, because  [Kid Champion] was the biggest bastard." (CW)
I cant wait until [Kid Champion] closes, because you are too much."  (Georgianne Walken)

   
 click (2)
     
  Sweet Bird Of Youth (12/3/75-Brooklyn Academy of Music,
     12/29/75- Harkness Theater, 1/76- Academy  Festival Theater, Chicago, IL) ....Chance Wayne
 

"Walken is wonderful"...... 
(Worth received her second best-actress prize in 1976 for her portrayal of an aging but still glamorous movie star in a memorable revival of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth," appearing in the play opposite a young Christopher Walken.)
"Walken`s body has brains. Dancing has enhanced that, but it's really a God-given gift. He moves in such an insinuating [schmeichlerischer Art] way. His pelvis is talking, his knees are talking. The way he handled his body in Sweet Bird turned everybody on. The girls with the production were affected by it, and so were a lot of the fellows, consciously or otherwise. He never bruised Irene Worth once. The only other person I've ever heard of with such exquisite kinetic control is Brando...In fact, Irene was supposed to do Sweet Bird with another actor in London, and she wouldn't. That's the kind of effect Chris had on her."
"Christopher Walken has also a kind of beauty to him but he invests it with a decadence that recalls Baudelaire and other doomed souls...both Miss Worth and Mr. Walken are superb - in timing, in temperament, even in dramatic temperature." 

 

       

     
click to enlarge (9) thanks a lot, dear Gwen!!

     
  Yale Repertory Theater, CT:
  The Wild Duck (4/78)...Gregers Werle (left pic below)  
   Measure for Measure (5/79)....Claudio     
  www.yalerep.org/press/r_history/index2.html (full size pics)

    click

 
     
   The Seagull (11/11/80-Public/Newman Theater)....Trigorin
   "Christopher Walken as Trigorin advances his standing as one of our most electrifying young actors...
 He is thoroughly convincing in the way he established Trigorin as the erotic center of the play.
" (Review)

 

      click

     
   Henry IV, Part I (7/82-American Shakespeare Theater, Stratford, CT)....Henry Percy, Hotspur
 

"I love working on the stage too much to be inhibited [abgehalten werden] by dissenting opinions. As long as I get a strong reaction I'm quite happy. I've always thought of myself more as an entertainer than an actor. Whatever else I do I manage to get the audience's attention. Being unpredictable and creating surprise arouses interest." (CW)
"Anglicizing Shakespeare isn't something I'm prepared to comply with. I sound like an American which is what I am. I want people to identify with that. I may like to take risks but I don't believe that I could betray [hintergehe] Shakespeare's poetry. I have a natural sense of rhythm and music. Anyway I am perfectly confident that the Bard [Dichter] will survive anything I do to him. He will not be damaged in this encounter even if I am." (CW)

 
     
click (2)

     
   Hamlet (82-American Shakespeare Theater, Stratford, CT)....Hamlet
   Review; another Review: "Many of his line readings are unconventional, and some are downright strange".
 Videointerview (1994) Walken on Hamlet
 
   

      
click (6)

        

   The Philanderer (82-Yale Repertory Theater, New Haven, CT) ...Leonard Charteris
   
click (2)
 
     
   Ivanov (7/83-Williamstown, MA)....Ivanov  
   

"He (CW) uses a thick repertory of Brando mannerisms - mumbles, slurred words,
sudden whispers -
and expresses melancholy by refusing to look at his fellow actors.
His phrasings are almost always weird, as in the reading ''I must change'' -
pause - ''my clothes.'' (Review)
click left pic
 

     
   Cinders (2/20/84-Public/Luesther)....The Director  
 

"Christopher Walken, playing the director, is good and creepy. The production is appropriately drab [zäh] and,
at times, somewhat confusing. The actors do well.Christopher Walken is at his admirable best as the icy, detached
[distanzierter] film director." (Review)

    click (2)

   

 
 
 
   Hurlyburly (6/21/84-Promenade Theater)....Mickey  
 

"Christopher Walken, brilliant as the cynical Mickey, dances effortlessly through the role with assumed accents, ironic twists, and an irresistible charm."

"Walken creates a seedy remnant [schäbigen Rest] of a once elegant man, with a sublime sense of humor that infects the audience with every line. His fainting scene, in which he starts a merry dance, then seems to feign tripping [vorgetäuschte Schritte], falls to the ground, and lies perfectly still in the first stages of a stroke, is alone worth the price of admission. The cast could not be better...Mr. Walken, as a self-protective cynic, offers what may be his least mannered, most fully ripened [gereift] comic performance ever."
"The acting is all that any dramatist could want. Christopher Walken is Mickey, cool and laid back and seemingly untouched by events." "With his puffy [schwülstiger] prettiness, Walken suggests the portrait of Dorian Gray in its early stages of decomposition [Verfall]."


 

     

         

          

     
   A Bill of Divorcement (1985-Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT)
  Christopher Walken with Katharine Houghton, the niece of Katharine Hepburn, starring in "A Bill of Divorcement."
Hepburn, who made her 1932 film debut in the role her niece played, was in the audience.

  click
     
   The House of Blue Leaves (2/28/86-Newhouse Theater)....Billy Einhorn
  "Billy Einhorn is an underwritten part, but Christopher Walken, giving one of his more zonked performances,
 further deflates it. He does, however, sport one of the most satirical hairdos...." (NY Mag.)
     
   A Streetcar Named Desire (8/86-Williamstown, MA)...Stanley Kowalski
 

A production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival featured Blythe Danner as Blanche, Christopher Walken as Stanley, Sigourney Weaver as Stella and James Naughton as Mitch. This production was directed by Nikos Psacharopoulos, who also directed the 1988 Broadway revival."While enhancing his role with a swaggering humor, Mr. Walken sacrifices a measure of Stanley's menace.  An additional difficulty is the actor's physical appearance; his bared torso physique does not seem convincingly Stanley-like. Despite his temperamental outbursts, Mr. Walken does not pose an ample threat to Blanche - until the dramatic rape scene, when he demonstrates that the role is within his range." - (Mel Gussow, August 22, 1986) 

  
click (left pic)

     
   The Three Sisters (8/87-Williamstown, MA)...Vershinin
   The right pic was taken in rehearsals for 'The Three Sisters" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival www.wtfestival.org

  

     
  Summer and Smoke (Williamstown Theatre Festival,1975)...John Buchanan Jr.
   (by Tennesse Williams)

  
click
 
     
   Uncle Vanya (4/13/88-American Rep. Theater-Harvard, Hasty Pudding Theater) ...Astrov
 

David Mamet's modern adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya... The sleepy routine of a Russian country estate is upended by the arrival of its absentee owner and his young wife, exposing tensions and spurring confessions: “I've squandered my past on nonsense and my present is sunk in absurdity. Isn't that something? My one feeling is for you. Can I renounce it? My one feeling in life and it's dying like a ray of sun shone in a well." Mamet's adaptation had its theatrical debut in 1988, with Christopher Walken in the role of Astrov, but is best remembered as the basis for Louis Malle's final film, Vanya on 42nd Street, starring Wallace Shawn and Julianne Moore.
Christopher Walken has described seeing Laurence Olivier playing Dr. Astrov in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and flipping the tone in Astrov's first long speech
(click to enlarge)

     
   Coriolanus (11/8/88-Public/Anspacher)...Coriolanus
 

"..a man can learn a lot from watching an actress. Somehow that seems like a terrible thing to say. But I learned a lot from Hepburn and Davis and from working with Irene Worth." (CW)

 "I think Coriolanus is one of the better things I have done and Irene Worth was, as the New York Times put it, 'incomparable." (CW)

"Chris Walken played the lead and did well, but it was the conception and movement of the whole beast that helped him release his power, besides his own unique abilities." (Review)



   click (2)    

    

     
   Love Letters (Spring, 1989- Promenade theatre)
   Othello (6/4/91-Delecorte Theater)....Iago  
 

 

Iago-mp3

"I don't learn lines, I just do them, over and over, and in that case [of Othello], hundreds of times. I put it on a tape recorder, stick it in my ear and walk around with it. Your mouth just starts to learn the muscle movements. Iago is the longest part in Shakespeare. Me talking at a rapid clip was, I believe, an hour and 20 minutes." (CW, 1995)
"The whole experience of directing Othello for me was one of the most satisfying in my 30 years of theater; to be able to experience Chris [Walken]'s extraordinary discipline, the fabulous rapport that Raul [Julia] had with the audience; and Mary Beth [Hurt]'s intelligence and intensity. What I remember most is that Joe Papp came to one of our final rehearsals. He was quite ill and hadn't been around at all during the process. I remember so vividly the outpouring of affection towards Joe from Raul and Chris and everyone involved. That turned out to be Joe's last visit to the Delacorte." (The director of Othello.)
"The best Iago I ever saw, because the most convincingly scary, was Christopher Walken. You could see why the
other characters accepted him as sane, though he was clearly unhinged [abgehoben]; he rarely raised his voice,
ut it was easy to believe that he might want to kill any number of people."
"Walken`s relaxed, informal rendering [Interpretation] of Shakespeare and dialogue makes the
language seem revolutionary, immediate, fresh and new."


      
click (2)

     
  The Seagull (8/3/94-Williamstown Theater, Williamstown, MA)... Trigorin
  Christopher Walken spielte 2001 den Pyotr Sorin in The Seagull  von Anton Chekov (Kevin Kline den Boris Trigorin)
und in früheren Inszenierungen-1980 und 1994-den Trigorin. In 1980, Rosemary Harris played Madame Arkadin and Walken was the writer Boris Trigorin,  who's her lover.
Review
 
with Gwyneth Paltrow (click 2)
     
   Him (6/5/95-Joseph Papp Public) ....Elvis   
 

Chris wrote and acted the main role in a play about Elvis Presley titled Him in 1995.
"Rarely does one have a chance to see such a great actor being so foolishly self-indulgent." (NYT)
"Never has any fully clothed actor looked as naked on the stage as Mr. Walken does in HIM."
 "Mr. Walken's most cheering and refreshingly absurd invention: Elvis did not die on that 1977 August afternoon in a Memphis hospital. Instead, he plotted his disappearance and transportation to a clinic in Morocco. There he underwent hormone treatments as the first steps toward his rebirth as a woman. " (NYT, 1995)
"Elvis was a big influence. He appeared in my formative, very impressionable years. He was so sexy, you know, he was really one of a kind". (CW, The Washington Post)
Review

  

          at tunnel, NYC (3)

     
   James Joyce's The Dead (10/28/99-Playwright Horizons, Belasco Theater)...Gabriel Conroy
 

"(...) I even have a video of the movie of it that was made in 1987. The words I've been given are unusually beautiful. When I first read the script back in August, I started to read the book, then I thought, no. The book is one thing, the script another, and I figured I'd better stick with the latter. After all the years of doing movies, to do something with great dialogue is really wonderful. I'm not Irish, I'm not great at accents and I can't really sing, but I liked the script and the music so much, I wanted to do it from the start. They asked if I wanted to go to a singing coach. I told them no. I figured the man I play isn't really a singer, so I'll just do it like him." (CW) click to enlarge (1)
 
   

      

     
   The Seagull (7/24-8/26/01- Delacorte Theater)... Sorin
 

"Those who remember Christopher Walken's riveting Public Theater Trigorin of 20 years ago—the only Trigorin who ever convinced me he was a writer—get additional discomfiture from watching [Kevin] Kline glide through the part while Walken, often only a few feet away, is giving a preposterously active, robust rendition of Arkadina's older brother, Sorin, a retired bureaucrat and quasi-invalid, two things as which it is impossible to imagine Walken." (M. Feingold, 2001)
http://www.theatermania.com/
Sorin.mp3


 
          

"Christopher Walken has once again not fared well with the critics; but it is time people recognized that he is one of the great American actors. I found his Sorin to be one of the most deliberate and surprising moment-to-moment performances I have ever seen. At first glance he would seem to have been better cast in the part of Trigorin (Walken probably thought so, too). But Nichols's instinct was correct. Instead of the decrepit, disappointed invalid of tradition, Walken creates a seedy remnant of a once elegant man, with a sublime sense of humor that infects the audience with every line. His fainting scene, in which he starts a merry dance, then seems to feign tripping, falls to the ground, and lies perfectly still in the first stages of a stroke, is alone worth the price of admission (even if admission to the park is free)." (R. Brustein, 2001)

"However, I’ve always loved Christopher Walken in anything he does, and I don’t intend to stop now. Mr. Walken plays Sorin, the retired, loopy brother of Arkadina, and he plays him with his customary loopy aplomb. He’s a most graceful actor, and we miss him whenever he exits. That he’s playing the somewhat aristocratic Sorin sucking on a cigar as if he’s trying out for The Sopranos isn’t quite the point. Nor even is it too important that the Sorin we see strolling nimbly about the place or hurling himself at a sofa because that’s what he wants to do is, in fact, a sick, arthritic man confined mostly to a wheelchair.

No, the point and genius of Mr. Walken is that he’s the only actor I’ve ever seen who can be in a role and step outside it  simultaneously. It’s an impossibility, but he pulls it off. And it puts him on the dangerous edge, which is where we—with Konstantin—always prefer theater to live. We cannot anticipate Mr. Walken for a second. He adores being onstage, conveying the intimate pleasure of it. And in return, we give him our hands. He brings the stage to unpredictable life and vitality, capturing the perplexed, half-mad spirit of the dying Sorin. For all his well-known faults, Mr. Walken’s a natural—the last person you might expect to be a Chekhov actor, and the only actor onstage who truly is." (J. Heilperm, 2001)  

       

part 2 (2010---)

 


 

 

 

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