By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sheila Daniels
Performed at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center
April 24, 2014–May 17, 2014
The ultimate family drama matched by intense political intrigue, King Lear traces an aging monarch’s descent into madness. Weary of his royal duties, King Lear elects to distribute his lands among his three daughters. But sweet falsities and hubris blind Lear to the true motives of those around him, scorching king and kingdom to ashes with consequences that unearth the worst and best in human nature.
Running Time: 3 hours with 2 intermissions
Craig Wollam (co-Scenic Designer), Melanie Burgess (Costume Consultant), Jessica Trundy (Lighting Designer), Rob Witmer (Sound Designer), Marleigh Driscoll (Props Designer), Louise Butler (Stage Manager).
CAST (in alphabetical order)
Scott Ward Abernethy (Oswald/Ensemble), Patrick Allcorn, (Duke of Albany), Gordon Carpenter, (Duke of Cornwall/Doctor/Ensemble), Jorge Chacon (Edgar), Jonathan Crimeni (King of France/Ensemble), Elinor Gun (Cordelia/Ensemble), Dan Kremer (King Lear), Todd Jefferson Moore (Fool/Old Man), Linda K. Morris (Goneril), Sophie Paterson (Ensemble), Craig Peterson (Duke of Burgundy/Ensemble), Debra Pralle (Regan), Eric Riedmann (Edmund), Sean Schroeder (Ensemble), Amy Thone (Duchess of Kent), Michael Winters (Duke of Gloucester).
King Lear Synopsis
“King Lear” is a play in which family relationships exert a relentless impact on political and social events. In every scene the family drama is played out through adultery, treachery, murder, torture, and greed.
The tragedy begins when Lear, in an attempt to justify giving the major part of his kingdom to his favorite daughter, Cordelia, devises a test of her love for him. He is certain that she loves him the most, but while his two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, are willing to flatter him, Cordelia is not. Angrily he gives away his kingdom to his elder daughters and their husbands. He even refuses Cordelia a dowry for her marriage to the king of France, against the good advice of the Duke of Gloucester. Gloucester is having family troubles of his own. His illegitimate son Edmund is trying to steal his legitimate son Edgar’s inheritance. Edmund has cunningly turned his father against his half-brother.
Goneril and Regan soon tire of looking after Lear and turn him out. Abandoned on a heath with only his faithful Fool for company, he takes refuge form a violent storm in a poor shepherd’s hut. Gloucester persuades him to flee to Cordelia in France, who welcomes him with open arms. Regan’s husband, the Duke of Cornwall, tears out Gloucester’s eyes in retaliation. Edgar, pretending to be mad, befriends his blind father and eventually reveals to him his true identity. Cordelia and her husband raise an army to win back Lear’s kingdom. Goneril seduces Edmund and poison’s her sister Regan. When her crimes are discovered, she commits suicide. Cordelia’s French army is defeated, and she and her father are captured. Edmund confesses that he has ordered their deaths. Cordelia is killed but Lear is saved. In the last scene, the old king goes mad and dies of grief with the corpse of his beloved daughter cradled in his arms.
From Shakespeare Genealogies by Vanessa James