Lear, 3/24/10

present: Dale, Jeff B., Scott, Jeff A. Spencer

We started by looking at III.7, the “eye” scene. How does one tackle such a scene? As Jeff said, nothing any of us have done in theatre has been this depraved. And then, not to get too Monty Python about it, how the hell do you pull something like this off? How do you gouge someone’s eye out? What do you do with it once you’ve got it? Should Gloucester face downstage? Upstage?

We played with various setups, and came to no real conclusion yet. Cornwall and Regan are a fun couple indeed. Their sado-lust is horrifying in the scene. (We decided Cornwall could hand Regan the first eye, leading to a very amusing take on “One side will mock another. Th’ other too.”)

We then looked at the III.2 storm speeches, the most famous in the play. After reading through the speeches independently, we began to explore.

One of the first aspects to pop up was the tendency, the compulsion to rage “nobly.” First of all, that’s very hard to sustain. Second of all, why after two complete acts of acting like an idiotic old man, is Lear suddenly oh-so-noble? Sure, he’s been wronged, but he’s there because of his own bad behavior.

Dale pulled back from the nobility and went for the petulance, which we liked. Variations followed, culminating (just as Jeff A and Spencer arrived) in Dale’s doing the speeches with a walker. Very ludicrous.

We pushed it even further: with Jeff B as the Fool, Dale rode him piggyback and railed at the skies, dismounting only for “Here I stand your slave,” and ending by sitting on a prostrate Fool: “O ho! Tis foul!” Something very appealing, very Eastern European about it. We filed it away for future reference. It’s certainly a bold choice.

Spencer and Jeff A leapt into I.2, between Edmund and Gloucester. We noticed that if you skip Edmund’s opening monologue (which they had), the scene plays out as the setup from a comedy. Spencer and Jeff went through it again, joined by Scott as Edgar. Finally, Dale assayed Edmund, Jeff B Gloucester, and Jeff A Edgar.

2 thoughts on “Lear, 3/24/10

  1. Fun stuff, mang. Dale, what on earth were you carrying around in your pocket when you rode piggyback?

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