From start to finish, this show had me completely engaged. In the other productions, there was a lull in a scene that pulled me out of the story. The elements of design came together to create a cohesive, and immersive experience. While the technical aspects of the play may have been flawless, I think the director’s vision failed to create a relevant spin on this dated script.
The main question I had going into this performance was how would this production make the story and message of Behn relevant for today’s audience? Since the time this play was written the rights of women have drastically increased. However, as a society,we still have many strides to take. After seeing the RSC’s adaptation of Cymbeline where they tackled Brexit, I expected this story to address the sexual violence still plaguing our society, or perhaps make another relevant connection to modern day woman rights issues. This was the missing piece of the puzzle that would have created a truly spectacular show out of a well-produced story.
Since we had the lecture before this performance I was provided the answer to many of the questions I expressed in my reaction. However, if I would have gone to this performance blindly, with no prior knowledge of the Behn, or the context of the plays birth, I worry that while I would understand the plot, I would leave with no appreciation for the message behind the words.
The prologue of the play begins by introducing the playwright as a man. While I can appreciate the significance of Behn introducing herself as the privileged sex--I wonder and perhaps worry if this false statement was acknowledged by those naive readers. (After Aphra is so obscure a name, it may be considered gender neutral.)
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...ar. The actions of the sisters seem almost justified because they are depicted as victims of King Lear’s rage. Therefore, his descent into madness (or perhaps grief) seems almost a just punishment. If the play ended at intermission, without the sisters making unwarranted attacks on other members of the family, the story could be interpreted as a haughty king falling from power.
I was expecting either a tradition portrayal of the play (in which both sisters act in the manner as Reagan did) or that they would find a way to make all characters as rich as they portrayed Goneril. I found the production’s choice to strengthen and develop Goneril’s character, flattened Lear’s, in addition to creating inconsistency between the sisters. While I saw a glimpse of an idea sparking, I wish they would have carried it through to make Reagan and King Lear as relatable as Goneril.
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