I have decided to assess Amanda Hussein’s interpretation of Shakespearean well- known King Lear. Amanda transported the tragedy of this play from the eighth century before Christ, to the sass in a world where the show and performing is everything. This King Lear was introduced in a Chicago style with two actresses walking down the theatre stairs and presenting England’s king. This roaring entrance shifted the audience back In time to the correct time setting, making It clear from then and onwards where this play was set.
In an unknown location In the sass, King Lear (magnetically portrayed by Alluding) is deciding on which of his three daughters should have his land: Cornelia, Goner” and Reagan. The last two, are the real antagonists of the play, and when their father asks them how much they love him, they falsely herald their love for him. Cornelia, who in truth is the only daughter who truly loves him, hardly speaks explaining that there are no words to explain how she feels about his father. King Lear though breaks Into a rage and sends her away, thinking he now understands who deserves his lands.
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We then see a subplot, which assn very clear as I had difficulties connecting the dots of the two plots. Two men, whose identities I still haven’t figured out, try to conspire against Gloucester and try to take his place. The play keeps jumping from one side of the plot to the other, where we see the two evil sisters Goner” and Reagan making their plans. As time passes, Cornelia keeps being loyal to both King Lear and her mean sisters, forgiving them all. The actual plot wasn’t easy to grasp by the audience, as the audience most of the time was positively struck by the clear but extremely effective staging and the convincing acting.
The stage was set out in a way that as soon as you entered the theatre, you immediately wondered what was going to happen, and knew that you were about to see something very unusual. The curtains were only partially open, leaving a space of about 5 meters which made all members of the audience focus on what was going on. This was obviously thought of and had a successful Impact on the spectators who directed their eyes where everything was happening. On the floor, three colored drapes were carefully lying parallel to the stage: magenta, blue and green.
These, other than the lights, were the only colored items on stage as the actors were all wearing black suits with white shirts, with the exception of King Lear, who wore a black fedora hat. The costumes perfectly mirrored the time period, and the fedora hat, typical of the sass, was one of the many gems of this play which made It as a whole, amazing. Eight black stools were set In three rows on the drapes and near these stools is where all the acting was going to happen. The middle stool was of course reserved to King Lear.
In the front row, on the sides, there were the two sisters General and Reagan, whilst in the last row, right behind Lear, there was the innocent Cornelia. On the left and right of the set, two girls and two boys stood, making the pattern pleasing to the audience. Manta’s set out of the stools was very effective, because since we are In theatre, the presence of all actors on stage, which, without a doubt, made this interpretation of Shakespearean King Lear fascinating, was the use of lighting and freeze-frames.
The lights were one of the main characters as they were always used. More than this, they were matching the three drapes on the floor which made it also aesthetically pleasing to the audience’s eye. Since the setting of the stage was very minimalist, lights helped the audience understand what was going on, where something was happening, and highlighted the actors’ emotions. For example, the use of green light when General and Reagan, the two mean sisters, were conspiring, gave importance to their feeling of new and wickedness.
Also, the use of Strobe lights in one of the final scenes where King Lear becomes mad, really drew special attention to his feelings and stressed this scenario of chaos. Not only this, but the use of Strobe lights, which was undoubtedly thought f, directly included the audience which felt in the same situation of discomfort as King Lear himself. Depending so much on lights, this play had no need of special sound effects, and in fact had none. As I said, freeze-frames were abundantly (and correctly) used in the play.
Amanda, thanks to the layout of the stage, afforded to have all actors on stage at all times. What happened was that when an actor had to deliver his or her lines, he or she had the freedom of using the space on the stage however they thought was appropriate (although it was clear that the director did her bob in keeping everyone where they were supposed to be). If the actors didn’t happen to be in the scene that was going on at the moment, they would by frozen standing in front of the stool, heads down, hands held in front of them, silent.
The only exception went for King Lear who sat with his head in his hand, giving to the audience a constant message of desperation and confusion which I thought was brilliant. On certain occasions though, the changing of the scene made them move. All of the actors would simultaneously walk around their stool once, grab the stool, and in reflect unison noisily place it on the ground to sit on it. Not only the unanimity of the eight actors left the theatre speechless, but the moment the stools touched the ground, the lights would change color, making this perfectly synchronized scene change sudden, but expected at the same time.
All of these techniques made the actors who weren’t part of the scene disappear, and made us focus on the actors acting. All actors did an outstanding Job performing this version of King Lear. Since everything was very minimalist and brought in an unknown location, it was vitally important that the actors gave the play the depth it deserved. I honestly believe that Amanda did a fantastic Job in directing everything, because you could really feel the effort that she put into every second and line of the play.
Positions, lights, costumes, and acting was very well thought of, and it was clear when they all performed that all the details counted. The characters and actors which stood out the most, out of the eight, were the three sisters and King Lear. Cornelia was interpreted by Aviators, who never stepped out of character, and although had to portray a shy personality, she engaged to be heard by everyone in the audience. Her body language, as well as the other two sisters’, was coherent to what she was saying and feeling from the very first scene when she “expressed” her love to her father, to the very last.
General and Reagan were interpreted by Lucia and Sofia. The two actresses created a very strong bond between the two of them, and with the audience. Their acting, I feel, was very Lucia and Sofia moved around the stage, gave a clear understanding that they fully felt what their characters were experiencing, as their emotions of envy, Jealousness and wickedness contaminated the stage. Last, but without a doubt not least, is Ludicrous performance of King Lear. I strongly believe that his whole rendition was, as I already said, magnetic.
When he was talking using that deep voice he gave to his King Lear, all eyes were fixed on him and every word he said, he filled it with a deepness which the other actors honestly lacked. Ludicrous acting was charismatic, and touched everyone. One of the last scenes, when King Lear becomes mad, his body language and voice tone gave me goose bumps. This though, wasn’t only because of his acting, but also due to the fact that Amanda had the brilliant idea to rate a sound blanket during the scene where Lear is going crazy, and all the actors slowly approach him chanting louder and louder “die! Ii! Die! “. This, together with the acting, and the Strobe lights, is one of the scenes which made this play so unforgettable to me. I was completely hypnotized by the end of it, and it took me a while to come back in the real world as the whole play was fixed in my head and Just didn’t want to come out. Amanda indeed managed to communicate throughout her directing many emotions to me, and to the rest of the audience.