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McKellen told to
keep his shirt on in Singapore

McKellen told to
keep his shirt on in Singapore

The madness of King Lear is not a welcome addition to the organized and authoritarian city-state of Singapore, especially when it involves public disrobing, reports the U.K. newspaper the Telegraph.

The London-based Royal Shakespeare Company is bringing its critically acclaimed adaptation of King Lear to the island nation next month. At the request of the host, award-winning gay actor Sir Ian McKellen will not reveal himself to the audience.

At the play's climax, McKellen's King Lear, becoming increasingly insane, addressed his clothes, demanding, "Off, off you lendings! Come unbutton here."

The Singapore Reparatory Theatre asked McKellen not to take the lines literally, expressing concern that nudity will warrant an age restriction on the audience. Gaurav Kripalani, the artistic director, explained to the Telegraph that over 1,000 students have booked for the event.

The Singaporean government is known for its harsh restrictions on public behavior, including fines or jail time for public urination, littering, and gum chewing. Controversy was caused in the 1990s when an American teen was subjected to lashes for vandalism. (The Advocate)

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