Friday Headlines

the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress

RSC's King Lear a Hit

14 October 2016

On Thursday, 6 October Mrs Park’s Year 11 English group, A level students and three English teachers, travelled to Stratford to see a production of ‘King Lear’ at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford. We were excited to see the famous Sir Antony Sher perform in the leading role of Lear, an elderly king with hollow values.

The play is based around two fathers, Lear and Gloucester, who both have the unfortunate attribute of ignorance and therefore misjudge their children. Both fathers realise they favoured the child or children who have betrayed them, but they understand all too late. This leads to the ultimate tragedy of the play.

The first half lasted two hours which allowed us to grasp the plot and the characters’ personalities. This was followed by a twenty minute interval, where of course, we all rushed to get ice cream! The final half was an hour long and detailed the gory deaths of many characters which kept us on the edge of our seats, especially when Gloucester’s eyes were viciously ripped out - the popping sound made this really effective!

Most of us were particularly impressed with the actor who played Edgar. In the second half of the play he disguises himself as a mad beggar, ‘Poor Tom’, and is used to emphasise the extent of Lear’s insanity after his daughters betray him. We discussed the highlights of the performance on our journey home, comparing it to previous plays we have seen.

We would like to thank the English department for taking us on this enjoyable trip that allowed us to experience the theatre of Shakespeare with a world-class cast.

Esther Simkiss and Phoebe Benson 11 M

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