Eric Tucker is an off-Broadway director and Artistic Director of Bedlam Theatre. Musa Gurnis is an early modern theater scholar and actor. When we pitched our Shakespeare mash-up series BEDLAM to streaming networks we joked that we had run out of things to binge watch during the pandemic and so decided to rewrite King Lear…. Continue Reading »
Posts Tagged: King Lear
Picking up where Shakespeare’s King Lear ends, a new novel imagines the life of Lear’s wife, who in this telling has been banished for 15 years when she receives word of her family members’ deaths. Learwife by J.R. Thorp gives voice to a character who is notably absent from Shakespeare’s tragedy, which focuses on the… Continue Reading »
Austin Tichenor explores the copious Shakespearean echoes in HBO’s Succession series, in which the Shakespearean actor Brian Cox plays a key role.
How do Shakespeare’s plays reflect a life filled with plague outbreaks, asks Austin Tichenor — and do we see his plays in new ways now?
Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Imagine a King Lear that cut the character of the Fool, created a romance between Edgar and Cordelia, and featured a happy ending in which Lear and Cordelia both live. That was the most popular version of Shakespeare’s play for more than 150 years, until William Charles Macready’s landmark production in 1838.
Why was herpetophagy (eating reptiles and amphibians) linked with madness in Shakespeare’s “King Lear”? Unpack the cultural anxieties involved in early modern English encounters with unfamiliar dietary norms.
Well-known Shakespeare characters such as King Lear and Hamlet suffer (or appear to suffer) from madness — and early American psychiatrists took note. Observations drawn from literature began to bleed into courtroom testimony regarding insanity pleas. “From the mid-1840s through about the mid-1860s in the United States, during the first generation of American psychiatry, no… Continue Reading »
Artist Paul Glenshaw writes about drawing the bas-relief of King Lear by sculptor John Gregory on the front of the Folger Shakespeare Library building.
What’s it like to play the role of Lear onstage? In this excerpt from Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries, actor Antony Sher gives us a window into the rehearsal process for the Royal Shakespeare Company production of King Lear in 2016, directed by Gregory Doran.