From the 2013-2014 Season:
Playing November 09, 2013 to December 01, 2013
$15 General Admission Previews Thurs Nov 7 and Fri Nov 8
The ties that bind in King Lear are woven of deceit, greed, grief and joyfulness. Often regarded as Shakespeare's crowning achievement, this tragedy about the relationship between parents and their offspring shows us how quickly we become blinded by fear and killed with love.
A part of The Shakespeare Evolution Series!
Join the cast and crew members for a lively Question and Answer session on Sunday November 17 after the show!
Read the Plot Synopsis
King Lear Synopsis
By Kristin Hall
King Lear, the aging ruler of Britain, announces that he will divide his kingdom into three parts based on which of his three daughters loves him most. Goneril and Regan, his two eldest daughters, outdo each other in flattering their father. But Cordelia, Lear’s favorite, youngest and still unmarried daughter, refuses to stoop to base flattery. Her answer infuriates Lear, who disinherits her on the spot (the King of France, moved by her integrity, is still willing to marry her even without a dowry.) Lear also banishes Kent, one of his most loyal courtiers, for defending Cordelia. The King divides his kingdom between Goneril and Regan, intending to live alternately between their households for the remainder of his life. Meanwhile, Edmund, the bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester, resolves to win the inheritance of his older (and legitimate) brother, Edgar. He creates distrust between Edgar and their father that results in Edgar fleeing for his life.
Rather than leave for exile, Kent disguises himself in order to keep serving Lear. Lear, his Fool and his retinue of 100 knights (and Kent) arrive to stay with Goneril, who treats them scornfully. Infuriated by her treatment, Lear travels to stay instead with Regan. Goneril writes quickly to her sister, encouraging her to treat their father in the same manner. When Kent intercepts this letter and challenges the messenger, Cornwall (Regan’s husband) gives him a degrading punishment. Cornwall and Regan have traveled to Gloucester’s castle just to get out of hosting Lear, but the King meets them there. He becomes enraged upon seeing Kent so degraded, and rails upon his treatment from Goneril. Goneril herself then arrives to support Regan, and they gang up on the old King, eventually turning him out of the castle without shelter from a threatening storm.
In the meantime, still thinking that his father seeks to kill him, Edgar has disguised himself as a peasant named ‘Poor Tom.’ He runs into the half-mad King out on the stormy heath. Risking the wrath of Goneril and Regan, Gloucester arranges shelter in Dover for the now-feverish King and his ragtag companions. When Cornwall finds out, he savagely blinds Gloucester as punishment. Regan throws the blinded Gloucester out of the castle; ‘Poor Tom’ finds him and leads him toward Dover. Cordelia’s husband is leading an army from France to fight with Goneril and Regan’s powers, and she is reunited with her father at Dover. While in Dover Edgar happens upon crucial evidence of his illegitimate brother’s treachery: Edmund has pledged his affections to both Regan and Goneril.
The English army wins the battle and takes both Lear and Cordelia prisoner. Edgar appears as an anonymous ‘white knight’ and challenges Edmund in combat; Edmund loses and confesses his sins before dying. Regan has poisoned Goneril, only to commit suicide when her infidelity and treason are exposed. It’s also too late for Cordelia: she has already been hanged by secret command from Edmund. After carrying her body into the courtyard, Lear dies of grief. Edgar assumes command of the kingdom.
Directed by J. Tony Brown
Act One - 75 min / Act Two - 60 min / Act 3 - 25 min
King Lear - Jeffrey Watkins
Fool - Mary Ruth Ralston
Goneril - Erin Considine
Albany - Clarke Weigle
Regan - Laura Cole
Cornwall - Paul Hester*
Cordelia - Hayley Platt
France - Adam King
Burgundy - Kody Brown
Kent - Vinnie Mascola
Gloucester - Troy Willis
Edgar - Chris Rushing
Edmund - Matt Nitchie
Oswald - Daniel Carter Brown
Curran - Kody Brown
Old Man - Clarke Weigle
Captain - Paul Hester*
Doctor - Garrett Gray
Knights - Paul Hester*, Adam King, Kody Brown, Troy Willis*, Nicholas Faircloth
Gentlemen - Nicholas Faircloth, Adam King, Kody Brown
French Soldiers - Mary Ruth Ralston, Paul Hester*, Adam King, Kody Brown
Goneril’s Servants - Hayley Platt, Garrett Gray
Goneril’s Soldiers - Adam King Nicholas Faircloth
Regan’s Soldier - Daniel Carter Brown
Gloucester’s Servants - Hayley Platt, Garrett Gray
Lear’s Attendants - Chris Rushing, Daniel Carter Brown
Burgundy’s Attendant - Nicholas Faircloth
France’s Attendant - Garrett Gray
Messengers - Garrett Gray
Herald - Garrett Gray
Bardometer RatingHow difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?
These are plays you may have read in high school or college. The plot is fairly uncomplicated, though some of the themes may be dense or dark. These plays may include supernatural elements, straight-forward politics, historical content or religious content. (In these cases, we offer a synopsis with important historical or contextual explanations which you may read in the Playbill before the show.) In these plays, there may also be bawdy language and certain adult situations, and the language may be hard to follow for a first-timer.
We recommend this type of play to High School and College Students, casual theatre-goers, people who like mainstream films and reading “The Onion”, and Shakespeare lovers who enjoy delving into the Elizabethan world.
How to prepare for seeing this kind of play: You may wish to read the synopsis we provide (and maybe your notes from Literature Class). Or simply do a small amount of internet research. No worries – you won’t get lost.