William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear returns to the stage in this area after a 20-year absence. From June 10-26, ActorsNET of Morrisville, Pa., presents the drama two decades after they first presented it in 2002.
The company’s Artistic Director Cheryl Doyle once again directs the play at the Heritage Theater along the Delaware River. The title role will be played this time by George Hartpence.
“When I was 12 years old,” Doyle said, “my Great Books Club read the play King Lear, and then I saw what has become a rather famous production at the Shakespeare festival in Stratford, Connecticut. I was immediately hooked on Shakespeare’s works, as a fan and a lifelong student. When ActorsNET started producing Shakespeare in 2001, I directed George Hartpence in Hamlet, and the next year George and I co-directed King Lear.
“Over the years,” she continued, “ActorsNET has produced more than a dozen Shakespeare comedies and tragedies (and our current king has been in all of them). It seems appropriate to return to King Lear in these uncertain times, as the play plumbs the depths of sorrow and anger while also reaching great heights of love and redemption.”
King Lear is widely considered one of the greatest tragedies ever written. In the play, aging King Lear gives his kingdom to cold-hearted daughters Goneril and Regan, rejecting younger daughter Cordelia, who is pure of heart but too honest. Driven out by the two older women, Lear — accompanied by his faithful fool and a banished but faithful earl — confronts the fury of a violent storm, and his madness rises to meet it. In a parallel plot, the Duke of Gloucester’s illegitimate son plots the destruction of his father and his legitimate brother, seducing both Goneril and Regan in his quest for power. As war looms among the sisters, Lear’s harrowing descent into madness echoes growing chaos in his family and kingdom.
The theater is at 635 North Delmorr Avenue in Morrisville, Pa. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Visit actorsnetbucks.org for tickets.