Kenneth Branagh: Sheer Maudness

Never one to back down from a challenge, Kenneth Branagh once accepted a dare to do an extraordinarily ambitious show -- and booked the theatre so he could not change his mind. The show? A one-man performance of Tennyson's "Maud." The poem, 1400 lines long, had never before been staged. The source of the dare? Kenneth Branagh.

[The enterprise paid off: Two Royal Shakespeare Company casting directors were in the audience one nignt and within months Branagh was in Stratford playing the lead in Henry V and Laertes in Hamlet.]

[Among Branagh's nicknames? The Kenergizer.]

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