October 26, 2020

1984-02-20 – The Los Angeles Times

1984 02 20 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Mon__Feb_20__1984_ 2

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rock star seemed like an unusual casting choice
for a Shakespearean comedy. What was even

more unusual was that this particular rock
star-—by his own admission—abhorred the Bard.

But that didn't stop Roger Daltrey from tackling not
one but two rolcs—as the Dromio twins—in the BBC»:
TV production of “The Comedy of Errors." to air on PBS
(Channels 28. 15. 24 and 50) today.

At first. however. the former lead singer of the British
rock band the Who was less than eager to try out for the

, play: - ‘

During a recent visit here. Daltrey recalled that
"when my agent told me the BBC was doing ‘The
Comedy of Errors.’ I said. ‘What's that?‘ He said. 'It's by
William Shakespeare,’ and I said. ‘1 hate Shakespeare. I
can't stand it.’ "

Acting isn't a new experience {or Daltrey. He scgued
from music to feature films in 1975 when he took on the
title role in Ken Russell‘s adaptation of the Who's rock
opera "Tommy." That movie was followed with lead
roles in "Lisztomania" and "McVieaz-J‘ Daltrey appeared
in the BBC production of "The Beggar's Opera."

But Shakespeare was something else. Daltrey's
antipathy for the Bard hearkens back to his youth when.
as a teen-ager. he was assigned to read ”Macbeth” in
school. “That's what turned me off it." he said. "They
just did it‘Es an English lesson. I just hated it."

After much procrastination. Daltrey finally read “The
Comedy of Errors" at his agent‘s behest. "I bought it and
spent ages reading it," he said. "1 had a dictionary in one *
hand and the book in the_ other. I didn’t really
understandnit at first. I had no idea what the bloody play
was about." ‘

“The Comedy of Errors" is Shakespeare's first and.
some critics claim. most simplistic comedy. The premise
of the play is a familiar one. a case of mistaken identity.
Two sets of twins—one pair noble. the other ser—

, _vants—are separated at birth. only to unwittingly come

together years later and be mistaken for one another.

Director James Cellan J ones said he knew of Daltrey's
dislike for Shakespeare when he invited the singer to
audition for the production. but that he was interested in
him anyway—partly for his name value but also
because he had been impressed by Daltrey’s perform-
ance in “The Beggar's Opera."

Roger' Daltrey, roeker who landed a role in PBS’ “The Comedy 'of Efr'ors.” PleaseseeROGER DALTREY,Page5