King Lear – a reading

by William Shakespeare

The aging King Lear intends to divide his realm among his three daughters: Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, his favorite. But the latter is unable to express her love of her father publicly, as the other two do, and so is disinherited; the Earl of Kent, who defends her, is banished. Cordelia marries the King of France, while the kingdom of Britain is split between Goneril, wife of the Duke of Albany, and Regan, wife of the Duke of Cornwall. Finally gaining power and blinded by greed, the two daughters drive away Lear who, now stripped of everything and on the verge of madness, is accompanied solely by the court fool and the Earl of Kent, in disguise. But the French army lands in Britain, led by Cordelia, who has decided to come to her father’s aid…

Director’s notes
A reading for one actor and two actresses. The text has been pared down in an attempt to get to the heart of the tragedy of Lear and to make Shakespeare’s poetry resonate far and wide.