Get wise before you get old: King Lear comes to Midtown

cast-of-king-learBy Joe Lambe

Think plots, madness and bloodshed among royalty, but it’s not Game of Thrones.

King Lear plays this year at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Southmoreland Park.

It will run from June 16 to July 5, including on July 4, Tuesday through Saturday evenings.

The written play some call a perfect tragedy includes the fool’s words to Lear: “Thou shouldst not have been old til thou hadst been wise.”

Festival Executive Artistic Director Sidonie Garrett summed it up: “The play is about ambition, lies, backstabbing, politics and how the race for absolute power corrupts, maims and destroys everyone.”

swordfightJacques Roy, the play fight director, also plays the good royal brother, Edgar.

He said Tuesday that some fight scenes had been added, just before demonstrating a broadsword battle.

“I’m looking forward to getting to duke it out on stage every night, and to hopefully some cool weather,” he said.

He crossed blades with Kyle Hatley, who plays Edmund, the bastard royal brother.

In the written play, evil Edmund says of Edgar, “…a brother noble, whose nature is so far from doing harms that he suspects none: on whose foolish honesty my practices ride easy.”

The written play also includes harsh words for politicians. The mad Lear tells the blinded Earl of Gloucester: “Get thee glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician, seem to see things thou dost not.”

John Rensenhouse will play the role of Lear, which he said is one of the most iconic in all of literature, “a great honor to tackle.”

Hatley, the vile Edmund, said of the play: “It does the thing that any family drama does – end in blood.”

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