Saturday, February 7, 2015

King Lear - Act I

King Lear
Act I

Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom; and ’tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburden’d crawl toward death.

The old king is looking to divide up his kingdom. To this end his daughters engage in a brown-nosing contest to try to determine who loves him best. Cordelia puts her foot in her mouth clear up to her knee and thus is left out in the cold.

The Earl of Kent doth protest too much about this turn of events. He almost ends up impaled on the king’s sword but cooler heads prevail. He is sent packing, with orders not to return under pain of….you know what. Cordelia’s stock has now plummeted but the king of France decides to have her as his wife even so.

In other developments, there's some sort of duplicitous machination type stuff involving Edmund and Edgar, the sons of the Earl of Gloucester. I haven't quite sorted this out yet but perhaps it will become clear as things unfold.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shakespeare Uncovered - King Lear

Shakespeare Uncovered
King Lear

As a Shakespeare Newbie my plan is to read through the plays in alphabetical order. Which I've done for the most part, with a few detours. Most recently, I jumped ahead to King Lear, in preparation for watching the Shakespeare Uncovered episode on the play. I've been trying to go into each play cold, without doing any research ahead of time. But even though I'm only part of the way through the first act I decided to watch the show anyway.

The episode is hosted by Christopher Plummer, who is among the ranks of the many name actors who have played the nutty old king. As a Shakespeare Newbie, I've been mostly reading through the plays, as opposed to listening to them, attending a play or watching filmed adaptations. So one of the first things I noticed was that Shakespeare comes across a lot better when actors are speaking and acting the lines than it does on the page.

Other than that, there's not much to say. Except that if you're looking for a good overview of King Lear, including excerpts of various performances over the last century or so, talking head bits with various King Lear players, and plenty of analysis this would be a good place to start.