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Ian McKellen can offer a ready rebuttal to the recurring obituaries written about the theater.

"Theater will never die, because what is special about theater as a form of storytelling is that it's on a human scale," says the 59-year-old actor, best-known for his classical stage performances. "It's not huge images on a massive screen, and images of people who are dead, or who certainly are not in the room with you. Actors on a stage are there. You're in the same space. That's why I don't like when the spaces get too big and the voices are coming through microphones."

McKellen, who's appearing on screen these days in "Gods and Monsters" and "Apt Pupil," said people will always want a more personal, intimate form of entertainment.

"If you pulled down every theater in the world, you wouldn't stop theater; it would emerge in some other way," he says. "You can go to a marketplace in Marrakech and see a storyteller, a wandering itinerant storyteller, captivating an audience just sitting on the ground, hanging on his every word or gesture, or the tune in his voice. That's theater. Is that going to die? I don't see the possibility of it dying."

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