Augustana theater revives King Lear



Shakespearean tragedy is not an uncommon thing to tackle in the realm of theatre. This year, the Augustana Theatre is trying its hand at it with the upcoming production of King Lear.

Freshman Abby Giambattista worked on Shakespeare plays all throughout high school, including Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Auditioning for King Lear was something that she wanted to do.

“The play is about the titular king and his three daughters —Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia,” Giambattista said. “He wants to split the land between his daughters, but only if they confess their love for him. Goneril and Regan gladly do it, but Cordelia refuses to exaggerate, angering the king. She gets banished, the other two daughters take over, and chaos and conflict ensue.”

Dan Workman, part of the theatre faculty, portrays the main character, King Lear.

“He is a very complex character,” Workman said. “Why does he stage this elaborate ceremony to divide his kingdom? Why does he decide to abdicate his power of the throne and give it away? Does he recognize that he’s getting old? Why does he get angry at his youngest daughter? These are all questions that we all, audience included, get to explore about the king.”image15

Workman said that this play, along with others of Shakespeare’s work, remains relevant due to themes of humanity, human emotion and relationships.

“This play is still very relevant because of the foibles that are a part of Lear,” Workman said. “He’s far from a heroic figure. He’s very vain, bombastic, domineering, a bully — all of these qualities that are still very prominent in our society today, especially with people in power.” 

Typically, King Lear lasts from three to four hours when performed in its entirety, however, the Augustana production has been shaved down to just around two hours. 

King Lear will be shown in the Edith Mortenson Center Theatre on Nov. 15-18 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are free to all Augustana students.

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