Ken Tynan – Theater Aficionado Anecdote

At the last dress rehearsal, a straight run prior to the first preview, I noticed a figure sitting to the rear of the stalls with a notepad. It was Ken Tynan. Afterwards I went up to greet him and found him mopping his eyes with a handkerchief. He couldn’t have paid me a more sincere compliment because what made Ken cry in the theatre was not the sadness of the subject matter but the skill with which it was realised. Provided it matched his standard of ‘High Definition Performance’, he could be brought to tears not only by a tragedy but by a farce, by a solo comedian, by a team of acrobats. They were not easy tears to induce, but it was this genuineness of emotion that had made him such an exceptional critic, and as I was beginning to learn (and rather to my surprise) such a loyal friend.

Stage Blood: Five tempestuous years in the early life of the National Theatre
Michael Blakemore

Highly recommended book