Open Forum

King Lear

  • 1.  King Lear

    Posted 04-01-2019 13:28
    I am looking into doing King Lear next year and was wondering what other colleagues experiences with the play at a high school level have been.  How long was your version if you did not cut it?  If you did cut it what were your choices?  Are there any resources online for cut down versions of Shakespeare plays?  Thanks.

    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,
    David T. Kelley, M.Ed.
    Theatre Arts/Film Studies Educator
    Arbor View High School
    (702)799-6660 x4095
    http://bit.ly/crimsonplayers

    "Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." - Henry David Thoreau
    ---------------------------------------
    Check out my classroom grant projects!
    https://arbor-view-high.ed.co/avhs-crimson-players
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-03-2019 02:55
    I've never heard of anyone doing Lear at the high school level, and probably for good reason: the title role really requires age and experience, and it's hard to imagine a high school student being able to approach that in any credible way.

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    ------------------------------
    Jonathan Dorf
    Playwright/ Co-founder of YouthPLAYS/ Co-chair of The Alliance Of Los Angeles Playwrights
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-03-2019 11:12
    My goal is to challenge my students which is why I chose King Lear.  I also try to do non-traditional Shakespeare every other year or so.  I once had a colleague tell me they thought that Shakespeare was beyond any high school students abilities.  I disagree when we push our students' great artistic achievements occur.

    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,
    David T. Kelley, M.Ed.
    Theatre Arts/Film Studies Educator
    Arbor View High School
    (702)799-6660 x4095
    http://bit.ly/crimsonplayers

    "Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." - Henry David Thoreau
    ---------------------------------------
    Check out my classroom grant projects!
    https://arbor-view-high.ed.co/avhs-crimson-players
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-03-2019 08:38
    I have produced it successfully with high school age students.  Once with a 20-year old Lear and a 2-hour cutting, and once with a 16-year-old girl Lear for a 20-minute cutting.  Both times the students LOVED it and although Lear and Gloucester (and Kent) need to be emotionally mature actors, it is a great project for student actors.   Lear is also a good role to split between one or two actors: a "King" Lear, a "mad" Lear, and an "old" Lear, etc. As for a cutting, I no longer have either of mine, but if you need suggestions over the summer, I am glad to lend a hand. I usually do a judicious cutting before rehearsals begin and then trim some and restore some as we go.
    It lends itself well to cutting for all different run times and actor skills.

    ------------------------------
    Elana Kepner
    Theatre Instructor
    The Oakwood School
    Greenville NC
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-03-2019 11:13
    I would love more information about your versions of King Lear.  I am working on the concept of setting it in feudal Japan such as Akira Kurosawa did in his RAN film.

    ------------------------------
    Sincerely,
    David T. Kelley, M.Ed.
    Theatre Arts/Film Studies Educator
    Arbor View High School
    (702)799-6660 x4095
    http://bit.ly/crimsonplayers

    "Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." - Henry David Thoreau
    ---------------------------------------
    Check out my classroom grant projects!
    https://arbor-view-high.ed.co/avhs-crimson-players
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-03-2019 13:28
    I love this idea! And I am totally in agreement with you about students and Shakespeare.  I have yet to meet a group that doesn't rise to the occasion beautifully.  Someone always looks at me askance when I produce Shakespeare with teenagers, sometimes the teenagers themselves, and then everyone is blown away by their facility with the language.  And yes, I will totally own my own skill and say I am terrific at teaching and directing Shakespeare and guiding the students to find moments of self and vulnerability in the text, but teens (and pre-teens) just get it in a way that is magical, and so far beyond what a lot of adult actors can muster.

    One of my productions was part of an afterschool program that regularly produced Shakespeare with teens so we had an alumn who seemed up to the challenge.  This was set in the 1920s.  The 20-minute production was for a two-week outdoor teen summer camp and my cast was entirely 15 and 16-year-olds.  Out of necessity, the design was simple but the kids came up with a contemporary black, white and red color scheme that made it very visually cool. I haven't done the 3 Lears, but it came up in a brainstorm once and I loved the idea.  I hope all of that is helpful.

    ------------------------------
    Elana Kepner
    Theatre Instructor
    The Oakwood School
    Greenville NC
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-04-2019 08:55
    A colleague and former student of mine directed a production of King Lear at my school several years ago.  We are a college-prep magnet school with an all-honors program, and we have a long history with Shakespeare, from the traditional (Romeo and Juliet) to the offbeat (The Winter's Tale), so the students were pretty fearless in taking it on.  My colleague cut it to about 90 minutes, and staged it in our black box space.  Interestingly, he had a few scenes played outside, on the banks of a retention pond adjacent to the black box, with these scenes being relayed to the audience inside via closed-circuit video hook-up.  Our audiences seemed to like it.

    ------------------------------
    Jeff Grove
    Theatre Teacher, Aesthetics Department Chair
    Stanton College Preparatory School
    Jacksonville FL
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: King Lear

    Posted 04-05-2019 07:42
    Just in case no one has said this yet -- the fastest way to cut Lear (and if you're using any kind of traditional edition, PLEASE PLEASE cut) is to do either the Folio or one of the quarto editions -- you can always put back one or two of your very favorite lines if you want, but Lear is like Hamlet -- there are 3 different "drafts" that Shakespeare's company performed at one time or another that have been shoved together like he intended to write one long, long play.  One of the Quarto editions is a very stripped down one too.  The Norton Shakespeare edition has all three published back to back.

    ------------------------------
    Katy Mulvaney
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------