For this weekend we have for you “Lear” by Young Jean Lee, which we did as a west coast premiere in 2016. And on our webcast “Animal Farm: Conversations on Theater and Politics with Steven Leigh Morris and Guests,” Steven talks with novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Gay Walley. Here is a link to the talk show:
And here is a little about “Lear” from David C. Nichols’s LA Times review:
“At the outset of “Lear,” now receiving an austerely lunatic West Coast premiere at City Garage, a projected PBS-style host drolly relates the narrative of William Shakespeare’s immortal tragedy, up to Lear’s banishment and Gloucester’s blinding.
“Our show begins roughly at this point in the story,” the host (Trace Taylor) continues. “Nothing else that happens in Shakespeare’s text is necessarily relevant to what you are about to see.” This, as it turns out, is a considerable understatement.
Playwright Young Jean Lee’s 2009 dissection of the motives and psychosexual dilemmas of the progeny who drive the Bard’s towering masterwork isn’t so much a deconstruction; neither Lear nor Gloucester appear, for starters. Instead it’s a wildly prismatic riff on existential identity, the patriarchy, internecine attraction/repulsion and more. Not for nothing did New Yorker critic Hinton Als call it “a hot mess.”
Director Frédérique Michel treats the intermissionless proceedings as a hybrid of Renaissance masque, absurdist romp and college counseling session, and her fine-tuned cast follows suit. Kristina Drager makes an angular, dryly understated Goneril, whose deliberately contemporary interaction with Kat Johnston’s curt, oddly sympathetic Regan and Nili Rain Segal’s insanely grinning, perversely funny Cordelia typifies the whole. They neatly respond to the fey/savage interplay of Andrew Loviska’s vivid Edgar, who recalls the young James Woods, and Anthony M. Sanazzaro’s hilariously petulant Edmund, his late-inning reappearance as a beloved “Sesame Street” character perhaps Lee’s riskiest twist. Posing and pouncing around producer Charles A. Duncombe’s elemental sets and lighting in Josephine Poinsot’s winking costumes, the group sustains itself through to the post-Pirandello climax, which breaks both tone and third wall…Devotees of its author and this cutting-edge company should flock.”
It will be showing on our City Garage YouTube channel from 8:00pm this Friday, April 2, through noon on Friday, April 9th.
It’s free to view but we ask people to make a donation if they can through our Chuffed page:
Merci to our donors of this last week, Irene Palma—who has been such a friend to all of us at City Garage for so long. And to Ian Jones!
Stay safe, wear a mask, and get a vaccine when you can!