PLYMOUTH — The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University will host a staged reading of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 and 22 in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts.
The program features professional director and actor John Briggs, a well-known and highly praised director and adaptor of Shakespeare’s plays, as King Lear. Briggs has created and directed provocative adaptations of Shakespeare for Georgia Shakespeare Festival, including “Hamlet, Godfather of Brooklyn”; “The Merchant of Venice: 1938”; “Macbeth” and “Richard III”; the “Cowboy Comedy of Errors,” and “Julio Cesar” (for which he received critical recognition in the prestigious Shakespeare Quarterly. At Plymouth State, Briggs has directed “Ah! Wilderness,” “Eleemosynary,” “Ghost Sonata,” and “Illyria” (a musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night”).
A staged reading “ … is concerned with the play proper, without visual elements and other production values. The audience is expected to hear the ideas and intent of the playwright through the actors’ interpretation, and that is its beauty,” according to Briggs.
PSU Director of Theatre, Paul Mroczka, says Lear is an amazing character.
“He’s king of a great realm and a father with a very big ego. He makes a fatherly mistake when he misinterprets his daughter Cordelia’s decision not to praise him with overly zealous proclamations of love as a sign that she does not love him at all. His other two daughters have openly proclaimed their love for him, but Cordelia thinks their praise is hollow. Lear, in a fit of fatherly anger and kingly misguidance, banishes Cordelia who really does love him, and gives his kingdom to the other two daughters who soon turn against him, making him a homeless and aging man,” Mroczka says.
Mroczka says “Lear” is about love, both false and true, and how parents can interpret praise as love and misinterpret truth as a lack of love.
“It’s a human tale about fathers and daughters, families and united and divided nations,” he says.
Other readers include PSU Theatre Arts majors Andrew Kelley, a senior from Westminster, Mass.; Tomer Oz, a senior from Exeter; Chase Perkins, a senior from Manchester; Beau James, a senior from Nashua; Evan Grande, a junior from Kingston, Mass.; Hayden Sterns, a junior from Windham, Ct., Danielle Aucoin, a senior from Hudson; Katrina Chamberlain, a senior from Candia; Jackie Goodrich, a sophomore from Newfields; and Meg Anchukaitis, a senior from Walpole, Mass. Also, Eben Brown, a senior Music Education Major from Dorchester.
Ensemble readers are Theatre Arts majors Leo Curran, a first-year student from Braintree, Mass.; Kayla Fernekees, a senior from Salem; and Julia Arey, a junior from Tewksbury, Mass.
Tickets for this staged reading are $6 for all seats, at the Silver Center Box Office, 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869. Tickets are also available online at silver.plymouth.edu.
Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is online at www.plymouth.edu/department/mtd.
General information about programs and events at Plymouth State University is online at ThisWeek@PSU, http://www.thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.