Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lear's Shadow

Today is our last day before heading back to the states, so no pictures. In a few days I'll hopefully have the time and means for more content.

But: overall the Young Vic Lear was very good; there were some very questionable directorial decisions (Albany was terribly cast; the heath scene was only half-successful; Goneril does NOT need to be pregnant; the Edgar-Edmund duel sent mixed signals), but all of them are more than redeemed by Pete Postlethwaite as Lear, who is absolutely spell-binding (and a perfect gentleman too; he signed my sketchbook afterwards!). Gloucester and Edgar especially were able to work on that same level, which was especially critical for the Poor Tom scenes and the "trial" of Goneril and Regan, represented here by two potted cacti which Lear proceeds to rip apart with his bare hands when it comes time to "anatomize Regan."

The center of the play, in fact, is some of the most intense theatre I've experienced yet, with a triple-knockout succession of Poor Tom (with Lear and Edgar both operating on the same insane wavelength and the Fool seemingly aware that his own eccentricity has been far usurped), the trial, and the blinding of Gloucester, which was effectively, gruesomely done with an added nastiness as Regan, ever eager to outdo others in wickedness, starts gouging out the other eye and then proceeds to rip it out with her teeth and spit it out into a dirty basin downstage. The end of the play is nearly derailed by the awful Albany, but the core.... Wow.

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