King Lear–Great River Shakespeare Festival

King Lear!

Each year, the GRSF hosts something called the Intern/Apprentice Project. While the company puts on plays and musical, the Apprentice Actor Training Program students and the Technical and Administrative Interns put on a production of their own! This year, the performance was Lear–and 16 apprentices and 12 interns took part in one way or another as cast or technical and design staff. Not only does this give the apprentices (who are also understudies to the main performances) a chance to shine, it also gives the interns–called the “unsung heros” of GRSF by the producing director, Paul Barnes–their turn in the spotlight.

Last night’s production was a testament to their skills and dedication to GRSF.

CAST of CHARACTERS: King Lear, Cordelia, Regan, Goneril, Fool, Gloucester, Edgar, Edmund, Kent, Albany, Cornwall, Oswald, Knight, Servants and Soldiers

From the unusual beginning, wherein we see Cordelia as a baby, learning to walk at her father’s doting command, to the fascinating portrayal of Lear by three different actors, this was a new and interesting take on Lear. The opening is mirrored at the close by Cordelia’s attempts to get her aged father to run from their pursuers–and the three voices of Lear help visually create the faltering moods of rage and disquiet experienced by the king in his descent into madness. I must also comment on the elocution of Cordelia–though in some ways her role is not as large (she appears most at beginning and end), she delivers some of the most poignant lines of the play, and with a quiet strength and resolution that well-fit the part. Likewise, the fool provides a comic but also stirring review of the situation as it unfolds. This part can be especially difficult to play–where does one find the line between foolery and serious rebuke?–but it was expertly done. Sisters Regan and Goneril were wonderfully venomous, the “natural” son Edmund humorous and bold in his base pursuit of wealth and power. Edgar, eldest son of Gloucester, also performed excellently–doubling as Mad Tom (and so under-clad for most of the play); anyone who can perform so much while wearing so little has all the nerve necessary for life on stage in my opinion.

Well done to all! I warmly recommend it to anyone; not only are you supporting the interns and apprentices, you are seeing a worthy addition to this year’s GRSF.

I wonder what’s coming up next year!?!?

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