52 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s King Lear performed, and class conflicts

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  34. Thanks so much for sharing this with me!This article provides so different aspects of the story.Shakespeare is genius.Tragedy of King Lear is a masterpiece and interpreting this masterpiece is sth that will never end.It is multidimensional….Also the performance on the stage looks epic!!!

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  38. Thursday 8th September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Arts

    GORDON PARSONS sees the charismatic actor give a riveting performance from start to finish in Shakespeare’s epic tragedy King Lear The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon 4/5

    EVEN though King Lear is so rich in its universal thematic examination of the human condition, it inevitably lends itself as a showcase for the eponymous protagonist.

    Borne aloft with papal canopied splendour Antony Sher, perhaps our most charismatic actor, establishes his dominant presence as Lear from the moment he enters.

    His many appeals to the gods are delivered more as commands or instructions and we can readily understand the exasperation of his daughters at having to comply with his demands to express just how much they love him.

    Covered in furs like some feral badger, his voice has a grating vibrancy and his journey from myopic autocrat to helplessly demented victim is finally captured in the self-mocking, pathetic irony of his answer: “Ay, every inch a king,” to the blind Gloucester’s: “Is’t not the King?”

    Yet Greg Doran’s production engages with so much more than Lear’s progress to self-enlightenment.
    The sub-plot brings home the lot of suffering humanity on a more domestically recognisable level, particularly in David Troughton’s imposing portrayal of the betrayed and grotesquely blinded Gloucester, here tortured in an incandescently lit glass cell.

    Paapa Essiedu and Oliver Johnstone as his sons Edmund and Edgar respectively reflect the play’s contending forces of ruthless egotism and suffering compassion, with the former entertainingly manipulating his gullible father while the latter leads the despairing, eyeless old man on his last journey to a mutual comfort born of filial love.

    Lear’s daughters — Nia Gwynn’s Goneril and Kelly Williams’s Regan — are clearly cut from the same cloth as their father, while Natalie Simpson’s Cordelia must have acquired her fortitude and honesty from the mother we never hear of.

    Doran’s production makes us listen to every word. He draws out many exquisitely moving moments, such as Lear’s heartrending embrace of Goneril — the daughter he is about to curse — and the distraught Gloucester clinging like a lost child to the mad king on the heath before Dover, two old men lost in this brave new ugly world.

    Providing a constant reminder of this desolate extra-theatrical reality, the director has the “poor naked wretches” Lear belatedly comes to recognise and pity as his erstwhile subjects noiselessly present.

    They remind us of the desperate refugees that people our media —images without a voice which nevertheless speak volumes.

    Runs until October 15, then at Barbian Theatre, London, November 10-December 23, box office: rsc.org.uk


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