A one-man show about Laurence Olivier written by Mark Burgess

With Keith Drinkel as Laurence Olivier

It is 1975 & Laurence Olivier begins the day in his New York Hotel suite. He is still recovering from a series of life-threatening illnesses and has feared he would never be fit enough, or even asked, to work again. But a surprise telephone call from film director John Schlesinger has banished those fears & breathed new life into this most resilient of actors. The part being offered was that of the sinister former Nazi dentist Christian Szell. Olivier's co-star would be Dustin Hoffman, & the film...Marathon Man. As he prepares for his first day of shooting Olivier reflects on his past & considers the future. He talks of his great film & stage roles, the Old Vic & the National Theatre, his marriages to Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh & Joan Plowright, his children, of Gielgud, Guinness, Coward & Hoffman & his intense preparations for playing Szell.

 

Act Two, & a few years later as Olivier is about to film King Lear for television. He knows it is to be his last great role. We learn of his punishing fitness regime, the twenty or more films & TV plays he has made since Marathon Man, his final days at his beloved National Theatre and, most dramatically of all, his lengthy battle with attacks of terrifying stage fright.