Sunday, January 8, 2012

Frankie Is King

Tonight I had the privilege of seeing a special benefit reading of King Lear at Luna Stage, my neighborhood theater. At a new production of a well-known play, there's always the possibility that one will learn something new. In this production, starring Frankie Faison as King Lear, what I learned was how King Lear went mad. I have been thinking about madness a lot in recent weeks, as I am writing a chapter of my new book called "Crazy cities and mad plagues." But it was not just that I was thinking about madness. It was also that director Rob Clare and an incredibly able cast dissected the process with heart and attention. Each actor added a unique piece, from the fool's rap to the servant's calling Cordelia to wake her father. By the end, the toll of betrayal had worn us all down. "That was tragic," concluded my niece Jaden, and I was in complete accord.

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