Taking my seat, as the lights lowered, I was presented with a mysterious marvel that had my jaw agape and my mind reeling.
Review: More Rage, Less Blow & Bombast — “Lear’s Follies” at Artists Rep., Presented by Portland Shakespeare Project 0
A good rule of thumb before embarking on such a venture would be: unless you have something absolutely riveting to say or do with the text that takes the piece to a whole new level (as Oedipus El Rey did), stick to the original text. There are plenty of examples of directors taking setting and costume liberties with Shakespeare and the classics to make their own thematic, social or current political commentary on what they feel the text is trying to say (or as the old theatre rat joke goes, “Hey, I know! Let’s do Hamlet in modern, plain rehearsal clothes!”).
Unfortunately, this is not the case with “Lear’s Follies” — more often than not, if you know the original source material well, one is left thinking, gee, the original did that so much better.
Portland Shakespeare Project presents an ambitious second summer of producing with The Season of Lear — two shows, playing in rotating repertory. The Season of Lear includes an inventive adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear written by award-winning local playwright C.S. Whitcomb, and a startling new staging of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear using only six actors and keeping the original text intact.
The action takes place in a ’40′s-style club – an oasis of smooth in a jagged town of broken dreams…where the swing is red-hot, the beauty dangerous, and the luck as fleeting as the love. So bring your dancing shoes, who knows…maybe you’ll get lucky!