One of Shakespeare’s most visceral and engaging works, King Lear tracks the destructive effects of the old king’s arrogance on himself and those around him. From his initial irrational decision to exile his one faithful daughter springs a series of treacheries that bring violence that bring violence and destruction to the entire kingdom.
Putting on a production of King Lear in four weeks is, frankly, a daft idea. It has been challenging, time-consuming and at times more than a little stressful.
On the other hand, I can’t imagine a more enjoyable way to have spent the beginning of my second year, or the last time I looked forward to something as much as this. Since getting proposals, which seems so long ago, not a day has passed when I haven’t thought about the play. Cutting the play (by roughly a third from its original length. Sorry Will). Planning the play. Getting a team for the play.
The gap between proposals (in May) and starting the process last month is an odd one. Over the summer, September couldn’t come fast enough. Auditions, rehearsals, show week. How far away they seemed. Then term started. By contrast with the months before, the last four weeks have gone frighteningly quickly.
It’s at this point I need to point out that, while seemingly fleeting, the last month has been incredible, and begin thanking people. The enthusiasm of the cast, from the audition process and throughout rehearsals has been an absolute joy, and they deserve immense credit for their hard work and huge talent. A phenomenal group of people, with a ceaseless ability to transform my anxiety about the play into pride and awe. Kate and Alex, I cannot say enough about your contribution to this process. From the moment you were invited onto the team to now you’ve both been supportive and dedicated as well as calming and encouraging in all the right places. And Joe. Although the last, not least. For agreeing to take this on with me, for getting the balance between friend and team member right at all times, and because without you none of this could have happened, thank you. Enjoy the show.
King Lear – Josh Finan
Gloucester – Andy Elkington
Edmund – Tom McMahon
Edgar – Doug Dunn
Cordelia – Sarah Sharp
Kent – Ellie Webb
Fools – Megan Gunn, Jade Richards, Elisa Santos
Regan – Loma Sylvana
Goneril – Ellen Jurczak
Oswald – Essie Barrow
Duke of Cornwall – Richard Agar
Duke of Albany – Matt Woodhead
Doctor / Chorus – Dorrit Pollard-Davey
Old Woman / Chorus – Danielle Patrick
King of France / Chorus – Thomas Brown
Servant / Chorus – John Murphy
Director – James Travers
Production Manager – Joe Bunce
Stage Manager – Kate Warburton
Producer – Alex Marshall
Lighting Designer – Selina Thompson
Composer – Matt Malone
Set Design/Construction – Genevieve Cant, Alex Flood
Lighting Operator – Anna Lamont
Sound Operator – Luke Singleton
Blood Effects Designer – Loma Sylvana
Blood Operator – Kate Lynas
Band – Andrew Greenwood, Elinor Hardcastle, Joe Wilkinson, Ben Hoblyn, Emily Moss, Katy Robinson, Josh Taylor, Sam Chapman, Catherine Bryant, Kate Smith