Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Becoming human

“'King Lear' remains a hard play to enjoy, but 'enjoy' may the wrong word--it's a work we endure in the hope that it will show us something about who we are. No other play has the same tragic power, the same ability to inflict pain on its audience: In the entire history of literature, only Sophocles gives a comparable portrait of suffering.

“Audiences have repeatedly turned to it in turbulent ages, as in the aftermath of World War II, and again today. When our own world seems to be filled with the war, torture and gratuitous cruelty that crowded Shakespeare's imagination, we look to 'Lear' to be reminded of what it is to be human.”

-- Jack Lynch, “A complex relationship with 'King Lear'”

PLUS: A clip from the fabled 1983 TV production of “King Lear,” featuring a constellation of British acting talent led by Laurence Olivier as Lear, Dorothy Tutin as Goneril, Colin Blakely as Kent and John Hurt as The Fool. Also Leo McKern as Gloucester, Diana Rigg as Regan and Jeremy Kemp as Cornwall. Can any sound be more terrifyingly beautiful than Olivier's Lear cursing his ungrateful daughter Goneril with these lines? (5:56-5:07)

Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it plow wrinkles in that brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away!


LAWSTUDE said...

Happy halloween Gibz. I must admit, theater and arts is not my cup of tea but anyways, I appreciate the fact that I am learning so much from your blog. Keep posting, take care.

decorator said...

RSC is re-staging it gibbs. with sir ian mckellen as king lear. opening this november.

gibbs cadiz said...

LAWSTUDE, thanks a lot for your comment, and for the regular visits. :)

DECORATOR, yep. the show swung by singapore some months ago. with ian mckellen so near, i so wanted to go, haay. :)

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