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May 10, 2019
A little over a week ago I was privileged to witness an amazing performance.
One of the main reasons for our trip to New York was to see a limited run production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, starring Glenda Jackson in the title role.
We got to see Ms. Jackson last year in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, and she truly is an international treasure, and an acting icon. She is so much of an acting legend that she took on the role of Lear (for the second time–she did it a few years ago in London) without gender-flipping it. This was not “Queen Lear.” She played Lear in drag, and I couldn’t imagine anyone doing a better job of it.
Due to the fantasy aspects of the story (it was based on a mythical King of pre-Arthurian times), this work lends itself well to diverse casting. Two other roles aside from Lear are performed by actors in drag: The Fool and The Earl of Gloucester. The cast is ethnically diverse and even included a deaf actor, and none of that detracted from this revelatory production of King Lear.
Lear is a tragedy with plenty of comic relief and shows the spiral of madness spurred by narcissism, vanity and duplicity. The story in a nutshell is that an aging King divides his Kingdom in three pieces, with plans to give one to each of his daughters. He asks each daughter to declare their love for him in order to see who gets the biggest piece.
That is today’s PopCulteer. Look for more of the New York Tour Diary all weekend long.