Yesterday Bookman and I went to Edina Cinema just a short jaunt from our house to see an encore screening of King Lear performed by the National Theatre in London. And what a performance it was!
I tried to finish reading the play on Saturday but only made it up to act three. Still, a good way in and well past the early confusion part of figuring out who is who and who is scheming to do what. So viewing the performance I was able to just leap right in and know what was going on from the outset which was nice.
The set was fairly bare which I liked. I’ve seen some elaborate Shakespeare sets before and I much prefer a more minimal approach. And the costuming and props appeared to set the play in the late 1940s to early 1950s and it worked really well.
Simon Russell Beale as Lear was fantastic. Towards the end when Lear comes out carrying the dead Cordelia his cry of anguish was so real it brought tears to my eyes. But really the whole cast was marvelous. A play is a group effort and even a phenomenal actor can be dragged down by a so-so cast and an uncreative director. In short, I feel like I got more than I paid for.
They showed some previews for upcoming performances and I was so very excited to see that they will be doing Medea in September. I really want to go and see that one!
I plan on finishing my reading of the play, no sense at stopping now because just as having read part of it helped me enjoy the performance more, having seen the performance will help bring the play to life as I read it.
Looking back over what I have written it is clear I’m not very good at writing about performances. Suffice it to say, if you have a chance to go see a National Theatre performance in your local cinema, go! You won’t be disappointed.