KING LEAR, THE SUMMIT OF DRAMA.

Monday Magazine's Shakespeare guru Robert Light tackles King Lear

We call it “The Monster.” Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, KING LEAR. It is respected and most often held in awe by those who have ever read it. A king of myth divides his realm between two daughters after exiling his youngest daughter Cordelia and his best friend, Kent. What follows is chaos, tears, usurpation, torture, civil war, madness, terror, and final catastrophe.

There are over 100 references to animals in the play. The word “nature” is mentioned over 50 times. The play ranges from inner conflict, social entropy, national collapse, international war, theological mystery, and cosmological challenge. It commands us to stare into the abyss and ask if we actually live in an ‘imbecilic universe.’ No Gods, no afterlife. A Darwinian dilemma! Break the bonds of nature and the nascent forces of life, decay, and death will piteously hunt you down to grind your soul into a scant and obscure oblivion.

There have been reports over the years of people passing out in the audience witnessing this play. Cool! Keats said reading it “burns like a brand on the brain.” It was written over 400 years ago but has endured with a vapid happy ending tagged on for almost two centuries. It is hard to believe the man who wrote the many sugared sonnets and pastoral romances could conceive much less wonderfully achieve such a stark pinnacle of despair.

We are doing KING LEAR at last. We gaze at the summit of its sobering glory like daunted climbers casting their eyes up to the peak of Everest. This is our year of Lear.

We are ready? The team’s chops have built up over the last five years and ten productions. We have the hope to attempt it and the talent to achieve it? The way must be tried. A primal purge of tragic ecstasy.

The play comes from Shakespeare’s grief seeing his Renaissance fail and fade away into the usual wars, coups, and futile superstitions. Yet, it does end with the lowest rising to monarchy. The play rewards loyalty with peace. Justice does not exactly prevail but it battles back and survives to fight another day. A lot like our own life and times. Maybe for all times.

Wish us luck. We can hardly wait to start our climb!

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

Tori Djakovic and Ava Hornby with their painting Winter Crystal Victorian Lace, a part of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Glass Box Story project. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Youths and seniors collaborate on Nanaimo Art Gallery public art project

‘Glass Box Story’ painted panels and text to be installed across street from gallery

View Gallery curator Chai Duncan admires the work of graduating visual art student Hailin Zhang, one of the artists in the upcoming End Marks grad show. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU visual art grad show presented as virtual gallery tour due to COVID-19

‘End Marks’ exhibition is on display from April 29 to May 30

Most Read