King Lear: Text and Performance by Gamini Salgado

By Gamini Salgado

During this version, R.A. Foakes brings to undergo a few historic views and significantly addresses fresh explorations of "King Lear" as a play of redemption, a play of depression and a play that destabilizes all statement. integrated is a composite textual content of 4to and Folio types, which permits readers to make their very own editorial decisions.

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After all, Pirandello asks us to believe in the 'reality' of six characters who have escaped to the theatre from an abandoned novel (Six Characters in Search of an Author), and Ionesco in that of a corpse whose leg keeps growing till it occupies a whole apartment (Amedee, or How to Get Rid cif It). Lear's insistent need for flattery and Cordelia's refusal of it will trouble us only if we are straitjacketed by the narrowest notions of 'lifelikeness'. The terms in which Lear puts his question are unmistakably material and quantitative: Tell me, my daughters, Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge.

Designer: Roger Furse. 2. The Stratford-upon-Avon and London RSC production of 1962 (Peter Brook); Lear Paul Scofield; Cordelia Diana Rigg; Goneril Irene Worth; Regan Patience Collier; Fool Alec McGowan; EdmundJames Booth; Edgar Brian Murray; Gloucester Alan Webb. Designer: Peter Brook. 3. The RSC production of 1968 (Trevor Nunn); Lear Eric Porter; Cordelia Diane Fletcher; Goneril Sheila Allen; Regan Susan Fleetwood; Fool Michael Williams; Edmund Norman Rodway; Edgar Alan Howard; Gloucester Sebastian Shaw.

Poor Tom's doggerel then transforms the touching poignancy of Lear's 'the little dogs and all' into something far grimmer. At the end of the 'trial' Lear's sudden and new-found but precariously held coherence - beginning 'Then let them anatomise Regan' - is all the more striking for arising out of the wild utterances which precede it and relapsing into them. The whole scene is, of course, intended to contrast visually and thematically with the opening one in which Lear in his regal sanity dispensed absolute justice.

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