Thursday, July 1, 2010

“For I am bound, as on a wheel of fire….”

"King Lear perplexes and awes—and in some weird way delights as well. Perhaps it’s the line after line of unmatched poetry, or perhaps the sheer universality of its themes. For anyone who has children, or who has cared for a once powerful parent, the play reverberates with meaning."

Photo courtesy Colorado Shakespeare Festival

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF) opens its summer season tonight with King Lear, hailed by many as the greatest play in the English language. Performances are in the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre on the University of Colorado at Boulder’s campus.

Director Lynne Collins has chosen to set Lear in the American West, turn of the century, in a world dominated by powerful, masculine men, who had made it big in timber, mining, and landholdings the size of an entire country. In this setting, as the most powerful of them all, Lear is truly a king.

In a first portentous scene, the still powerful but aging Lear (John Hutton) calls together his court to divide his kingdom among his three daughters: Goneril (Karyn Casl), Regan (Karen Slack), and Cordelia (Jamie Ann Romero). Asked to prove their love with words, the two elder daughters make fulsome declarations. But the youngest, Cordelia, is honest and reticent. (“I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.”) She refuses to say anything more than that she loves her father “according to my bond,” i.e., as a daughter should love her father. Infuriated, Lear disinherits Cordelia and she leaves with her suitor, the Duke of Burgundy (Benjamin Bonenfant), who recognizes her worth and values her for herself alone. Lear declares that he will divide his time between the households of Goneril and Regan—and that fateful decision sparks the fearful events which follow.

Only nine performances of Lear will be given: July 1 (Preview), 2 (Opening Night), 3, 20, 21, 29, 30 and August 7 and 8. Early (6:30 pm) and later (8:00 pm) curtain times are available. See calendar at for times.


Adult tickets range from $18 - $54, with youth (ages 13 – 17) at $20 and kids (ages 5 – 12) priced at only $10 for Orchestra section seating. Purchase tickets online at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival website, by calling the box office at 303-492-0554.

Tickets may also be purchased at the CSF Box Office on the garden level of the Theatre & Dance Building, University of Colorado at Boulder, 10am-6pm Tuesday-Friday and Noon to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. CSF’s production of King Lear is sponsored by the law firm of Faegre & Benson.

Note that The Fantasticks also opens July 2 at the
University Theatre on the CU Boulder campus. Read about all of this season's plays on the Colorado Shakespeare Festival website.


Did you see Lear's Preview performance July 1? Tell us and our Readers about it. Submit your comments below.

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