Since I was going to see Het Toneel Speelt’s production of King Lear, I figured I might as well read it, since that brings me closer to finishing my copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
Cutting a few corners, one could condense King Lear down to this: the elderly King Lear wants to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters. The elder two praise him up to high heaven, earning his favor, while the youngest refuses to do so. Lear gets mad at her, disinherits her, and divides the kingdom among the other two. Then, as things are wont to do in Shakespearian tragedies, the hunger for power corrupts them, Lear goes stark raving insane and nearly everyone dies.
With the play lasting roughly three hours, and given the cast of characters, I found it very helpful to have read the it beforehand. Because I knew the plot and who’s who (well, roughly at least) I didn’t have to focus too much on following the story, and allowed me to just take it in and enjoy the performance. Good, good show.
- Seen live
- Het Toneel Speelt King Lear at Theater De Flint, Amersfoort on October 9th, 2012. With Mark Rietman, Bracha van Doesburg, Jules Croiset, Daan Schuurman and others.
- Book read
- William Shakespeare — King Lear
- First line
- King Lear’s palace. Enter Kent, Gloster, and Edmund.
Earl of Kent: I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.