The classical repertory theatre, A Noise Within, continues their 25th anniversary season with Shakespeare’s “King Lear” directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
“King Lear” tells the story of an elderly King who has decided to end his reign and divide his country among his three daughters, Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril. The corrupt and deceitful Regan and Goneril tell him what they think he would most like to hear; the daughter that truly loves him, Cordelia, flatly but sincerely tells him an unvarnished truth – that she loves him as a daughter should. Lear disowns Cordelia, and splits the kingdom between Regan and Goneril, setting in motion the great tragedy that befalls all of the characters.
“In Lear, this personal journey of a family dealing with an ailing patriarch has global implications,” says Rodriguez-Elliott, “The breakdown of a nation runs concurrent with Lear’s mental decline. At the beginning of the play, see a man at the zenith of his power, a modern day dictator who is feared and has never heard the word NO. The world we enter is a violent, callous one. At the end, we see a man transformed.”
Artistic Director Geoff Elliott takes on the challenge of playing the titular role. He says, “I feel that I know Lear. He is stripped of everything, and must face his worst demons to find tenderness and uncompromising love in a very violent world. Lear spends so much of the play terrified of losing his mind. Anyone who goes through a similar self-investigation can’t help but ask ‘am I sane?’ as so much of the world we live in seems insane.”
A Noise Within last performed “King Lear” in 1994. Written in 1606 with a second version appearing in 1623, Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and frequently performed tragedies. Marjorie Garber wrote in “Shakespeare After All”, “This extraordinary play, in part a poignant and disaffected family drama, and in part the political story of Britain’s union and disunion, bears as well explicit markers of the time in which it was written and the time in which it was set. Three crucial time periods – the time the play depicts, the time of its composition, and the time in which it is performed – will always intersect.”
On April 26 and May 6, ANW is offering a very special event called The Great Escape that takes theatre lovers behind the scenes. “On two Saturdays this spring, we invite audience members to dine with our casts and artistic team,” said Geoff Elliott. “It’s a unique opportunity to gain insight on our design and conceptual process.” Audience members can enjoy lunch with the casts and artistic team between back-to-back performances of “King Lear” and the forthcoming “Man of La Mancha.” Tickets to the special event are $50 per person and includes food and drink (show tickets must be purchased separately).
King Lear runs through May 6. For tickets and information: www.anoisewithin.org or call (626) 356-3100. Single Tickets from $44, Student Rush with ID an hour before performance $20. Groups (10 or more): Adults from $30/ticket; Students from $18/ticket