A new favourite acting story, to go along with the better-known classics from Sir Laurence Olivier (advising Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man to "Try acting, dear boy") and Sir John Gielgud (who, asked for advice by a first-time Lear, suggested "Get a light Cordelia"):
Sir Ralph Richardson once electrified a first-night audience and other members of the cast by stepping out of character in mid-scene and turning towards the auditorium with the question: "Is there a doctor in the house?"
Somebody in the audience stood up.
"Doctor," said Sir Ralph, "isn't this play awful?"
—No Turn Unstoned (ed. Diana Rigg)