Birmingham Stage Company


18 May 2010

I am enjoying the most marvellous treat at the moment in the hands of Terry Coleman's biography of Olivier. It is quite the most fantastic book. And one of the things I'm struck by is just how hard Olivier worked throughout his life: it is quite phenomenal. Regular 15/16 hour days. Acting, producing, managing, filming - and a whirlwind social life, especially when married to Vivien Leigh.


There must be people working that hard today, devoting their entire lives to the pursuit of their goals and clocking up enormous achievements, but it is still a shock to read the intensity with which he lived his life.

It's also astonishing just how much acting one man could squeeze into a lifetime. The career of the average actor today doesn't even begin to touch the sides of what Olivier undertook.

And yet as I read I am constantly comparing him to Paul Scofield, whose whole way of being seemed completely at odds with Olivier's pace of life. I wonder if two people could have been more different in their approach to life and work and yet in their own ways achieving so much.

It is giving me a lot to think about - and I highly recommend the read.

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