Buy Tickets From the 2019-2020 Season: King Lear Playing November 02, 2019 to November 24, 2019

A Suzi Bass Awards Recommended Show

Performance on Sunday November 24 is at 2:30pm only
Lunch menu available at 1:15pm
Front doors open at 12:45pm

Chris Kayser as King Lear (photo by Daniel Parvis)

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.

Audience note: This production uses theatrical strobe lights.

Is King Lear appropriate for my child/student? Click here.

Probably not. Please read the information below in order to make that decision for your family or classroom.

Adult Content Advisory: Multiple instances of intimacy and clothed, consensual sexual contact between characters that are not married and are, indeed, married to other characters in the play.

Violence Advisory: Multiple violent murders, both onstage and off. A ghastly reveal of Cordelia’s dead body after she has been hanged. Both of Gloucester’s eyes are forcibly removed onstage, complete with realistic blood effects.

Language Advisory: Damned, bastard, hell, bitch and whoreson

Join the cast and crew members for a lively Q&A on Sunday November 10, 2019

Beginning July 2019, our student ticket prices are as follows:
$15 General Admission Tickets on Thursdays
$20 in all sections on Fridays and Sundays
(No student discounts on Saturdays)

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.

Director's Notes

Directed by Artistic Director Jeff Watkins

Show Information


Act One: 70 minutes
15 minute intermission
Act Two: 50 min
5 minute intermission
Act Three: 25 min
Show will end around 10:45pm / 9:45pm Sundays

Show Roles

Performances November 2-24, 2019

Dramatis Personae*

King Lear - Chris Kayser*
Fool - Natalie Karp
Goneril - Anja Lee*
Albany - Drew Reeves*
Regan - Gina Rickicki
Cornwall - Tamil Periasamy
Cordelia - Alexandra Pica
France - Brewer Kunnemann
Burgundy - Ryan Vo
Kent - Matt Nitchie*
Gloucester - Maurice Ralston*
Edgar - Kenneth Wigley
Edmund - Chris Hecke
Oswald - Ryan Vo
Curran - Anna Holland
Old Man - J. Tony Brown*
Captain - Tamil Periasamy
Doctor - J. Tony Brown*
Knights - Tamil Periasamy, Brewer Kunnemann, Anna Holland
Gentleman - J. Tony Brown*
French Soldiers - Natalie Karp, Brewer Kunnemann, Anna Holland
Goneril’s Servant - Alexandra Pica
Goneril’s Soldiers - Brewer Kunnemann, Natalie Karp,
Regan’s Soldiers - Ryan Vo, Anna Holland
Regan’s Servants - Brewer Kunnemann, Anna Holland, Drew Reeves*
Gloucester’s Servants - Alexandra Pica, Drew Reeves*
Attendants - Natalie Karp, Anna Holland, J. Tony Brown*
Gloucester Follower - J. Tony Brown*
Messenger - Brewer Kunnemann
Herald - J. Tony Brown*

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage
Managers in the United States

Show Times
In general, shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 2:30pm.

Bardometer Rating

How 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 plays, there may also be bawdy language and certain adult situations. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show.

Note for all plays: The performers of The Atlanta Shakespeare Company are specially trained to make Shakespeare’s text and intention clear, no matter the plot or the subject matter. They know precisely how to get to the emotional core of each line, each moment, each scene. We promise you will understand everything! Leave the heavy lifting to us!

Additional Information