$3 500 to see McKellen's Lear, and rear

Americans are used to pawning the silverware for a couple of tickets to the Super Bowl or the upcoming World Series, but $3 500 for a performance of Shakespeare?

That is the price set on eBay for a couple of tickets for King Lear, which opens at UCLA’s Royce Hall theatre in Los Angeles on Friday. And that is not just eBay hype: tickets start at $465 and rise to $2 000 on the website Stubhub, while Gotickets are offering them at up to $1 860.

The draw on this occasion is the performance in the title role of Ian McKellen, who has been wowing audiences in New York and Minneapolis in a Royal Shakespeare production under the direction of Trevor Nunn.

Tickets to the LA performances were sold out on the day they were made available, and touts have gone in for the kill.

“This is a seller’s market,” a Stubhub spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times.

Theories differ as to why the production has so inflamed America’s theatre-going instincts.

Some speculate it is down to McKellen reputation as both a leading classical actor and a Hollywood celebrity from The Lord of the Rings and the X-Men series. Others point to a scene where Lear is exposed in all his octogenarian glory.

McKellen was characteristically modest about the frenzy.
“It is the Royal Shakespeare Company doing King Lear directed by Trevor Nunn. If we weren’t selling out, there would be something wrong.” - Guardian Unlimited Â

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