Edwin Sherin 's Production Of William Shakespeare 's King Lear Essay

Edwin Sherin 's Production Of William Shakespeare 's King Lear Essay

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Edwin Sherin 's production of William Shakespeare 's King Lear in 1974 is the subject of this theater critique. This piece was first aired on PBS 's Great Performances on February 20, 1974. Even though it was considered a film, there was an actual staged performance thanks to the Joseph Papp production in Central Park, New York.
Before going into the actual performance and aspects of the theater production, the part that stands out greatly to me is the star studded cast. Now back in 1974 these actors weren 't as famous as they are now. The three that really stood out are James Earl Jones who was King Lear, Raul Julia who was Edmund, and Paul Sorvino who played Gloucester. To see that these very prominent actors get their start from small theater productions is very inspiring. I 'm not saying PBS productions is small, I 'm just amazed that they started from such small roles and evolved into such popular and distinguished actors in today 's society.
William Shakespeare 's King Lear is the story of an old king that wants to divide his wealth and kingdom amongst his three daughters. The play starts with King Lear asking his daughters to each tell him how much they love him. Two of the daughters play to his wishes and praise him in hopes of large fortunes left to them. However, his third daughter refuses to do so. She sticks to her belief that there are no words for her to describe her love for Lear. The third daughter, Cordelia, is disowned and flees her father 's kingdom. After dividing the kingdom between his two daughters, the king begins to go insane and travel the land with his Fool and a nobleman. Elsewhere in the kingdom, another family is having problems. A father named Gloucester has been tricked by his bastard son to bel...


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... and a funny added touch; but by how he was dressed in extremely plain and simple clothing that bequeath that of a fool. As the play goes on Lear 's outfit changes to that of a poor common man which helps resonate the idea of him going insane and it really shows how far he has gone from being the leader of the kingdom. I believe that clothing was a huge part of the play to help boost the portrayal of character development.
Edwin Sherin 's production of William Shakespeare 's King Lear was overall a very good representation of the story written over 400 years ago. This adaptation is still relevant 40 years later which shows that quality and worthiness of this performance. I was never a Shakespeare kind of guy but after taking a closer looking and actually critiquing and going in depth of his works, I really can see the beauty and art of these kinds of performances.

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