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November 10, 2005



The John Keats sonnet "On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again" inspires a meditation on the relationship between reading and doing in the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Theater Program's fall production of King Lear. The production is set to open this Friday night, Nov. 11, with additional performances on Nov. 12, 13, 17, 18 and 19. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Goodhart Theater. The play is free and open to the public.

Director of Theater Mark Lord, who is directing the production, describes it as a "miniaturized" Lear, with a running time of about 65 minutes. It incorporates the Keats poem as well as some material from the famous 19th-century Tales from Shakespeare, a children's book written by Charles and Mary Lamb. The focus, says Lord, is on "the moment when reading becomes acting." Designer Hiroshi Iwasaki's set transforms a library table into a stage to foreground the relationship between interpretation and performance.

"I thought, 'Let's take a look at this 400-year-old text which time should have stripped of its power by now and see what happens when we read it,'" says Lord. "It turns out that it isn't devoid of power at all: there is a lot of material that feels very contemporary."

"King Lear is a play that has great parts for women and great parts for young people," Lord notes, "but it focuses on a character who obviously is far beyond our student cast in terms of life experience, so it presented a great challenge" for the cast of 11 women and two men.

Anna Marciniak, a senior theater major, plays Lear. Jenny Brindisi '08, Elizabeth Elliott '08 and Aditi Vashist '08 play Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, respectively; Susan Willis '06 plays the Fool. Masha Kapustina '07 is stage manager for the production.


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