Reviews, News and Commentary

Michael Hurst as King Lear coming to Auckland Theatre Company

John Daly-Peoples

William Shakespeare, King Lear

Auckland Theatre Company

ASB Waterfront Theatre

June 13 – July 1

One of the great observations about the epic Shakespearean tragedy of King Lear was made by the German writer, Goethe who said of the king “Ein alter Mann ist stets ein König Lear” – ‘Every old man is a King Lear’.

We all wonder what our twilight years will bring, and struggle to prepare ourselves for death and a life with diminished authority and abilities. The play is a particularly stark examination of the ageing process and the loss of power and prestige  whisch can have social, emotional and personal impacts on life.

The play also tells of a family feud which tears apart a kingdom, a tale which has resonances with the real life dramas which have beset the English royal family over the past few years.

When the aged King Lear relinquishes his empire, he divides it amongst his three daughters, promising the largest share to the one who professes to love him the most. But when the balance of power transfers to the next generation, Lear is cast out by those he trusts, embarking on a maddening quest for self-knowledge and reconciliation.

A nightmarish family drama of global proportions, the play forces us to face our own humanity  the profound need for compassion and the Implications of changing the political order and the devastation that can follow.

Auckland Theatre Company’s King Lear will be the first Shakespeare production in over a decade with Michael Hurst as Lear and a formidable cast which includes Andi Crown (Goneril), Jessie Lawrence  (Reagan) and Hanah Tayeb (Cordelia) playing the king’s three daughters.

For this production ATC will be  transforming the ASB Waterfront Theatre into a  traverse stage with the audience also seated on the  stage. Two of Auckland great  creatives will be  designing the set – John Verryt as Set Designer and Elizabeth Whiting as Costume Designer.

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By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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