The story of King Lear gets a fresh (still dark) new look

By Liz McMahon

Staff Writer

This fall, Single Carrot Theatre will put a younger spin on a Shakespeare classic with “Lear” by playwright Young Jung Lee. This will be the regional premier of Lee’s existential take on “King Lear”, the eponymous tale of family and betrayal, featuring a cast of five—one resident company member and four guest actors.

Photo courtesy of Young Jean Lee

“This is the first show that I’ve done that is toying with the Elizabethan period,” Director Andrew Peters says. Peters, 30, works as a freelance director in addition to being an adjunct professor at Stevenson University.

“We’re the young generation, we want to rise, and the old generation needs to move out of the way,” An- drew says of the play’s initial theme. The post-modern absurdist story focuses on the three daughters of King Lear and the two sons of Edgar—all forced to ruminate together in a castle after throwing Lear out into a catastrophic storm to die. The impact and permanence of their decision begins to set in, and they start to “dig at one another as a way of suppressing that guilt,” Andrew says.

“There’s something you discover about mortality and life as you get older,” Andrew continues. Regarding parents, he says, young adults often begin to ask themselves, “Do I have the same flaws?” The show explores the space between total rebellion against parents and the guilt-ridden compassion that tends to follow, often times too late. That gap, as acted out by the young adults in “Lear”, tends not to be a pleasant space to occupy.

The 80-minute play toys with expectations an audience might have of a performance from the Elizabethan era.“We really learn that we need to break away from the frame of King Lear’s world,” Andrew explains. “It brings the audience into a bigger picture.” The extravagant costumes, designed by Nikki Seibert, fit the period, but the language is more modern. Though Shakespeare is hardly shy to vulgarity, Lee’s characters speak with less subtlety, in true millennial fashion. According to Peters, the set will be another element of surprise for the audience.

“Lear” will run from Oct. 6 through Oct. 29, with a discount for students with a school ID. Tickets are available at singlecarrot.com/lear

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