A dysfunctional family is never a good thing. A royal dysfunctional family is even worse.
William Shakespeare’s King Lear is the story of a king who gives up his throne to his daughters. While his sanity slowly fades, the kingdom falls apart.
Last night, King Lear made its premiere at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
King Lear (Anthony Sher) has decided to step down from his thrown. He has three daughters and declares that she who loves him best will receive the biggest largest share of his kingdom. His elder daughters, Goneril (Nia Gwynne) and Regan (Kelly Williams) proclaim their love for their father. His youngest daughter, Cordelia (Mimi Ndiweni) is not as vocal about her love for her father as her sisters are. As a result, she is banished from her father’s kingdom.
The story then snowballs into treachery, madness and war.
While the play is a bit slow, it’s very well done. Shakespeare was making a point not just about family, but about politics, which can both be incredibly messy sometimes. Anthony Sher, in the title role, plays Lear with a mixture of conceit, insanity, foolishness and ultimately regret. It is a powerful play that for obvious reasons, is still as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1606.
I recommend it.
King Lear is playing at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY 11217) until April 29th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets.