Seeing a great work of art elevates the soul. William Shakespeare’s KING LEAR is a very familiar and one my favorite’s of the Bard’s script. I was fortunate to see the great Christopher Plummer take up the mantle a couple of decades ago in what was a more traditional but powerful production.
Controversial director Sam Gold has a different take on this production. He did a startling and innovative staging of The Glass Menagerie a couple of years ago that divided theatre fans with his bare bones staging. I loved it. He places this production in modern dress and glittering with as much gold as Trump Tower. The vanity, peevishness and shallow flattery mirrors our age.
More notably non-standard casting marks this mounting. Diminutive powerhouse Glenda Jackson plays the great king who rules the stage with fierce but not blustering methods. We are comfortable handing her the scepter because of her powerful talents. Watching her unspool and battle against storms both natural and human are delectable. But she plays it straight up despite the gender twist. She is not a Queen Lear but every inch a King as no original language is altered to accommodate. The same is true of a pitch perfect Jayne HoudyShell as the tragic and loyal Earl of Glouster
I heartily recommend a visit to this unique world before it closes July 7. Elevate your soul and inspire your wonder.