Portland Shakespeare Project presents an ambitious second summer of producing with The Season of Lear -- two shows, playing in rotating repertory. The Season of Lear includes an inventive adaptation of William Shakespeare's King Lear written by award-winning local playwright C.S. Whitcomb, and a startling new staging of Shakespeare's classic King Lear using only six actors and keeping the original text intact. This season of passion and adventure will begin on July 11 with Lear's Follies and on July 18 with King Lear. Both shows play on the Morrison Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon, through August 5.
Lear's Follies is set in a Virginia tobacco empire family in 1929; the play explores issues of pride, greed, friendship, devotion and the choices people make in their lives that keep them emotionally shackled to their past. This modern adaptation of King Lear by C.S. Whitcomb brings humor and perspective to the classic Shakespeare tragedy without losing its core power.
Whitcomb says about her adaptation of King Lear: "The story of an old man who has had power and prestige, who has ruled his world and after retiring loses everything, seems like a natural story for today. There has never been a time in American history when more people are reaching the age of retirement and worrying about aging. Lear's story is not just relevant today; it's personal."
Tobias Andersen plays the part of Colonel Leroy King in Lear's Follies. He will be joined by Dave Bodin, Matt Smith, Gavin Hoffman, Gary Norman, Katie Butler, Amanda Washko and Melissa Whitney. Portland Shakespeare Project's Artistic Director, Michael Mendelson, is the Director.
For more about Lear's Follies, click here.
The story of King Lear, directed by Jon Kretzu, will be told in an imaginative restaging using only six actors, while keeping all of Shakespeare's original language and imagery.
Kretzusays about his production of King Lear: "In this production, I explore the piece in a more personal, human-sized way, concentrating on the family dynamics and personal tragedies. I am fascinated by the way Lear's madness transforms and distorts the world around him into an ever more horrific nightmare. It has always seemed a very contemporary script to me, full of language and action that is as avant-garde and surreal as anything in literature."
Tim Blough will play the part of Lear, and he is joined by Dainichia Noreault as Cordelia, Dana Millican as Regan, Allison Tigard as Goneril, Grant Byington as Gloucester, and Matt Kerrigan as Edgar.
For more about King Lear, follow this link.
Lear's Follies and King Lear will be presented in rotating repertory on the Morrison Stage at Artists Repertory Theatre. Lear's Follies will open on July 11 and run through August 5. King Lear will open on July 18 and run through August 4. Performance times for both shows are Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Single ticket prices are $30 for adult tickets and $18 for student tickets. Adult ticket prices for both shows, when purchased at the same time, are $50. Please see www.portlandshakes.org for exact dates and times of performances and for ticket sales.
Intimate and informative talkback discussions will follow all Saturday and Sunday matinee performances. These talk-backs will provide opportunity to discuss the production, ask questions and learn more about the show.
Portland Shakespeare Project has agreed to be a co-presenting sponsor, together with Portland State University, of an Iraqi Shakespeare troupe from the American University of Iraq Sulaimani (AUIS), on Monday, July 9, at 7:30pm, at Artists Repertory Theatre. They plan to do a few scenes followed by a Q&A session. More information to come.
The troupe consists of 10 student actors at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani who started an appreciation-type club, and ended up doing an English-language Shakespeare production in a public theatre, the first ever of its kind in Iraq. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival heard about AUIS and invited them to Ashland, to perform between July 3 and July 8, as part of the OSF's Green Show. More information here: OSF, in this video and on the AUIS program website.