2012 – SEASON OF LEAR

King Lear is Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy: it is a play that peels away the trappings of society to reveal the unforgiving truth of the human condition. Portland Shakespeare Project presented this powerful story in an exciting new production in 2012.

 

Dress Rehearsal Photos
from 
Lear’s Follies and King Lear

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Photos by David Kinder at www.kinderpics.com

The Reviews are In For The Season of Lear

RICHARD WATTENBERG IN THE OREGONIAN SAYS:

“”KING LEAR’ CERTAINLY LIVES UP TO ITS BILLING AS A ‘STARTLING, REIMAGINED PRODUCTION.’”
AND
“AS WITH LEAR’S FOLLIES, THIS KING LEAR OFFERS A THOUGHT-PROVOKING
PERSPECTIVE ON SHAKESPEARE’S RENOWNED TRAGEDY.”

BARRY JOHNSON IN OREGON ARTSWATCH SAYS:

“[TIM] BLOUGH MAKES A TERRIFIC LEAR, SO SURE AND IMPERIOUS
AND THEN SO REDUCED AND ADDLED.”
AND
“I LIKED IT A LOT, AND I SUSPECT YOU WILL, TOO,
WHETHER YOU ARE DEEPLY COMMITTED TO SHAKESPEARE OR NOT.” 

Cast List for King Lear

Tim Blough* Lear
Grant Byington Gloucester
Matt Kerrigan Edgar/Doctor
Dana Millican^ Regan/Edmund
Dainichia Noreault^ Cordelia/Fool
Allison Tigard Goneril

 

*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

^2011-12 Drammy Award Winner

Additional Information About King Lear

Directed by Jon Kretzu

King Lear is Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy: it is a play that peels away the trappings of society to reveal the unforgiving truth of the human condition. For Portland Shakespeare Project’s second season, we are thrilled to announce that we will be exploring this powerful story in new and exciting ways.

Jon Kretzu, who will directed this startling, reimagined King Lear, said about the production:  “This intimate re-interpretation will focus on exploring the anguish of familial conflict, misunderstanding and violence within the context of a surreal contemporary nightmare of dementia, madness and mortality.”  Make your plans now and experience for yourself this summer why King Lear has inspired scholars, poets and even plumbers for hundreds of years.  You don’t have to drive to Ashland this summer to see King Lear as the Bard intended it to be done.

Director Jon Kretzu’s Notes on His Production of King Lear

I have always loved King Lear.  It is one of those unique artistic works that seem to explore and expose the deepest parts of human behavior and action with depth, poetry and heartbreaking truth. For me, what has always made it work is its depiction of the pain and searing extremes of love and hate present in most families:  the need for control; the slow rot of mistrust; jealousy and envy; the sad truth of neglect; and misplaced affection. Mixed into this personal tragedy are larger issues: the shock of realizing the primal, bottomless possibility of violence and cruelty lying dormant in all of us; the deep fear of madness and losing control – either thru trauma or the complexities of the aging process; and, finally, a clear-eyed look into the abyss of life’s realities in a cruel world where happy endings are sadly not the norm.
 
I want to explore the play thru all of these viewpoints – for me, the social, political strife of the play has always been the least interesting side of the play. Because of this, I want to explore the piece in a more personal, human-sized way, concentrating on the family dynamics and personal tragedies. I am also fascinated by the way Lear’s madness transforms and distorts the world around him into an ever more horrific nightmare.  It has always seemed a very contemporary script to me, full of language and action that is as avant garde and surreal as anything in literature. It remains a play that both astonishes and lacerates.

Cast for Lear’s Follies

Tobias Andersen* Colonel Leroy King
Dave Bodin Doc
Amanda Washko Cora Lee King
Gary Norman Robert E Lee King
Melissa Whitney Magnolia King (wife of Robert King)
Gavin Hoffman^ Jefferson Davis King
Katie Butler Honeysuckle King (wife of Jefferson King)
Matt Smith Jonesy (a vaudevillian)

 

 *Member, Actors’ Equity Association

^2011-12 Drammy Award Winner

Additional Information About Lear’s Follies

Directed by Michael Mendelson

Portland Shakespeare Project commissioned award winning Portland playwright C.S. Whitcomb, whose other plays include Holidazed, Book of John, and The Wilde Boy, to write this new adaptation of King LearLear’s Follies is set in a Virginia tobacco empire family in 1929.  The play explores issues of pride, greed, friendship, devotion and the choices people make in their lives that keep them shackled emotionally to their past.  As one viewer who saw the staged reading of Lear’s Follies at the 2012 Fertile Ground Festival said, “This play will open up the story of King Lear to new audience and make it accessible.” Come and see what King Lear has to teach us in its new form…and maybe even have some fun along the way.  Who said that tragedy has to be high on body count and low on laughs?

If you are interested in learning more about Portland playwright C.S. Whitcomb’s adaptation of King Lear, please read her author’s notes that follow immediately below, as well as Cate Garrison’s thoughts on observing the first reading of Lear’s Follies.

C.S. Whitcomb’s Author’s Notes for Lear’s Follies

Award winning Portland playwright C.S. Whitcomb’s other plays include Holidazed, Book of John, and The Wilde Boy.  These are her author’s notes about Lear’s Follies.

Why write a new version of King Lear?

When Michael Mendelson, the artistic director of Portland Shakespeare Project, asked me to write a new version of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, I accepted without hesitation.  The story of an old man who has had power and prestige, who has ruled his world and after retiring, loses everything, seemed like a natural story for today. Click to continue reading C.S. Whitcomb’s Notes.

Cate Garrison’s Thoughts About Lear’s Follies

Among her many other accomplishments, Cate Garrison is a former theatre critic, loves the theatre and serves on the Board of Directors of Portland Shakespeare Project and on its Artistic Council.

One thing that excites a live-theatre junky like me is the realization that plays are never fully complete, even long after the author has tweaked a last word, or penned a final stage direction.  Directors, even if they play straight (a choice in itself), inevitably make their conceptual mark, and actors bring changes by their very physicality, their inflexion, posture, voice, body, soul. Click to continue reading Cate Garrison’s Thoughts.