Notes: King Lear

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Directors’ Notes

I think this production started forming in my head while I was with my father in his last days. It was such a privilege to watch the old patriarch cursing his circumstances, fighting, scheming, seeing people that weren’t there, blushing, cooing, steadying his course toward the end, making peace, weeping and laughing. Battling and giving up, giving in. No answers, no big resolution. Just mystery and the preciousness of time.

Life at the threshold of death and the surging tides of family issues are at the core of King Lear. While the play is full of harsh cruelty and hideous rashness, there are moments of tremendous love and selflessness. Through this play we witness a profoundly powerful man, a king of Olympian proportions, confronting his mortality with alternating waves of courage, peevishness, madness, and rage. It is only by losing everything that he finds forgiveness and acceptance. 

The themes of this epic story are alive in our everyday experience. Each of us carries the invisible weight of unspoken grief. We all play parts in the story of losing and dying. If we’re lucky, we will recognize our common ground. If we’re luckier still, someone we love will be with us as we go.

These gifted and dedicated actors and crew-members have gathered for a few short weeks to begin an exploration of this massive and inscrutable play. We have poured all our energy and resources into the words and the interactions of the characters. With you sitting on every side around us, at this night’s performance, we hope to catch one more sliver of light shining into the shadows. 

We hope that you get a glimpse of it too, that you think kindly of our attempt, and above all that you think of King Lear as yours from now on, to visit whenever you please.