Stage Door News
Stratford: “King Lear” starring Paul Gross begins previews today
Monday, April 24, 2023
After making his Stratford Festival debut as the Prince of Denmark more than 20 years ago, Paul Gross returns as the King of England, playing the title role in King Lear. The production, which begins previews this Monday, is directed by Kimberley Rampersad and set in a near-future Britain that finds a kingdom on the precipice.
Perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear is the story of an aging king, who, in demanding a show of devotion from his three daughters, leaves his kingdom divided, his family destroyed, the faithful banished and the hateful left to wreak inhuman havoc in the realm.
“The unsettling and remarkable nature of this play is in its relentless exploration of the counterpoint to humanity’s light: our darkness,” says Rampersad. “Giving voice to this, Shakespeare illuminates our brokenness and invites us to confront that which we choose not to see or dare not acknowledge. The brilliance lies in the playwright’s ability in crafting the most exquisite language to articulate the most hideous parts of our nature. There are few pieces of art more influential in the Anglosphere than the Bard’s interpretation of this ancient myth. And if words shape our universe – and I believe they do – King Lear is a galaxy.”
King Lear features Paul Gross as King Lear, Michael Blake as Edmund, Déjah Dixon-Green as Regan, David W. Keeley as Earl of Kent, Anthony Santiago as Earl of Gloucester, André Sills as Edgar, Tara Sky as Cordelia, Shannon Taylor as Goneril and Gordon Patrick White as Fool, with Anousha Alamian, Gabriel Antonacci, Richard Comeau, Austin Eckert, Allison Edwards-Crewe, Jakob Ehman, Andrew Iles, John Kirkpatrick, Josue Laboucane, Devin MacKinnon, Patrick McManus, Marissa Orjalo, Jennifer Villaverde and Rylan Wilkie.
This Shakespearean epic will be brought to life with the work of Set Designer Judith Bowden, Costume Designer Michelle Bohn, Lighting Designer Chris Malkowski, Composer Sean Mayes and Sound Designer Miquelon Rodriguez.
King Lear has its official opening on May 30 and runs until October 29 in the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at stratfordfestival.ca or by calling 1.800.567.1600.
The 2023 season also features Rent, Much Ado About Nothing, Les Belles-Soeurs, Monty Python’s Spamalot, A Wrinkle in Time, Frankenstein Revived, Grand Magic, Richard II, Wedding Band, Casey and Diana, Women of the Fur Trade and Love’s Labour’s Lost. For more information, visit stratfordfestival.ca.
Photo: Paul Gross as King Lear. © 2023 David Hou.