The cast of Pygmalion requires 6 actors. One of the lead parts is Professor Henry Higgins. This character would be quite fresh if starred by Garry Oldman. This actor would be perfect as he is obsessed with his work. He can combine disgraceful public behavior with the kind heart, while also being perfect for rebellious characters. At the same time, Oldman is one of the actors who can easily transform and does not fixate on one type of acting. Higgins is also a little bully. Although he belongs to the upper class, he hates it. Oldman’s previous acting experience varies from classical performances, for instance, Hamlet or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to thrillers and fiction, such as Batman or Interstate 60. For this reason, he is definitely not the actor of one type, but the one who can cope with any character.
The lead part is Eliza Doolittle. For this character, Emma Stone is one of the best choices. She is able to cover the personage, who is not romantic at all. Elisa symbolizes the strength of females of those times. Stone would be natural at the monologue at ambassador’s party, where she states her true face and dignity of a simple woman. That is the scene, where she should be taken seriously and her starring in Birdman shows that she can be unromantic but dramatic at the same time. In addition, her natural chemistry with the middle-aged characters will be helpful in interaction with the Professor and Colonel. Besides, Stone is known for comedies mostly; so, she would be able to cope with the comedian scenes. She is also good at parodies as it may be concluded from her interviews and different TV-shows. This fact will help at doing different accents in Pygmalion.
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Another character, Colonel Pickering, is a respectable gentleman. He is not as obsessed as Higgins. However, he has the same aim as the Professor, though he reaches it differently. He appears to teach Elisa manners and self-respect (Shaw, 2009). This character could be played by Peter Capaldi. He is known as an actor in historical films, such as Dangerous Liaisons. Apart from that, he is famous for his part as the 12th doctor in the Doctor Who series. He fits the personage as a type of a cold and aristocratic, but at the same time, idealistic and wise man.
Alfred Doolittle’s character requires the type of an actor who may turn unpleasant and eager for money. He is an elderly man, sharp-set for women and money. He is ready to sell his daughter for several pounds. His judgements are disgraceful, but he announces them without any doubt, even advocates for low pleasures. This must be a type of actor completely diverse to Pickering and Higgins. The best choice may be Richard Griffits. He is well known for his role of Dursle in Harry Potter. This actor is very natural in playing roles that require amoral rhetoric of the character.
Mrs. Higgins is the character who represents the voice of reasonability and sensibility. She is willing to help Elisa, while she is the only one who realizes this idea being childish. Maggie Smith would be a perfect candidate for the role of a tasteful lady in her sixties. She looks strict, noble and well-mannered, and fits this type of roles, as one may judge from her parts in Downtown Estate series or the Harry Potter saga.
Freddy Eynsford Hill is a secondary character. He belongs to the low class and has a mild character. Moreover, Higgins once commented his persona as a fool, which seems to characterize him the best. He is also the only romantic character, being mocked at the same time because of his sentiments for Elisa. This should be a young man, even the one who would look younger than his age in a play. Such a type may be found in Cillian Murphy. This actor, similarly to Gary Oldman, is considered to be the master of transformation. Even though Freddy’s character seems to be unimportant, Cillian Murphy is able to make it brighter and deeper than Bernard Shaw supposed him to be. His acting experience is variable, and all the roles differ from each other.
Thus, the play cast consists mostly of the British actors. Some of the choices are unusual, but this may work as adding new sense to the play in its classical context.
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The Importance of Being Earnest
The main character, John Worthing, J.P., is a controversial personality. He combines romance and ability of true love with the fact of living a double life. Martin Freeman, known for his part of Dr. Watson in BBC’s Sherlock series, would suit this role the best. His ability to uncover hidden concepts of a character throughout the performance, as he did in the Fargo series, would be helpful for the personage who represents combination of lie and honor at the same time. He may perfectly reveal the drama and paradox of his character at the beginning, where he retells the story of how he had been found in a suitcase. He would be able to develop as hilarious either dramatic sides of Worthing simultaneously.
His friend and opponent in a row, Algernon Moncrieff would be best played by David Tennant. This actor is known for his extraordinary presentation of Hamlet. Tennant’s Hamlet was not that tragic, but rather hazardous. The artist would be able to represent Oscar Wilde’s ideas of nihilism and transform into a cynical and adventurous character. He would naturally act in the scenes, where he pretends to be Jack’s (John’s/ Ernest’s) brother. He is able to act as a liar so that the viewer would capture all the hints of a lie. He can appear realistically convincing and attractive as a villain.
Algernon’s manservant, Lane, appears only in the first act, but he may be a very memorable character if played by Simon Pegg. Pegg’s natural naivety and smartness, as it is visible in Hector and The Search for Happiness, would be suitable for this role. Although he is young for this part, he may add new breath to this role.
Lady Bracknell is a snobbish, mercenary, and domineering woman. It will be quite challengeable and unusual for Olivia Coleman, but she might act quite naturally as a representation of hypocrisy and stupidity of the British aristocracy. For instance, in the conversation with Ernest, she says “…The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes…” (Wilde, 2006). These words would sound unconventional and authoritarian from Olivia Coleman as Lady Brecknell.
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Her daughter, Gwendolen Fairfax, is a lady of upper-class. She has a good taste, is obsessed with fashion, but at the same time, she is intelligent and elaborating. Despite these positive qualities, she is quite pretentious. To illustrate, she does not want to marry a man without the name. Rachel McAdams could act this character. Her role in The Notebook is an example of ability to fulfill the required qualities of the Wilde’s character. Although, she had a romantic character there, her other roles show that she is able to represent stubbornness and shallow-mindedness of aristocracy.
Cecily Cardew is one of the romantic, even sentimental characters that could be played by Emma Watson. Cecily is not a typical role for this actress. Her character is a dreamy young lady in love, but Watson with her boldness may bring more Wilde’s realism into this role. Her roles in The Beauty and the Beast or Ballet Shoes demonstrate her ability to combine modesty with nobility.
Her Governess, Miss Prism, is a suitable character for Maggie Smith. This actress is perfect at representing pedantic women. In this role, Smith would be perfect at demonstrating the lady, full of social clichés, but being soft and able to fall in love at her age. This type of acting may also be seen in the Harry Potter film, where she was starring.
Similarly to Pygmalion, the cast of The Importance of being Earnest consists mostly of the British actors and actresses. This factor is important in order to represent the English society of the end of the nineteenth century.