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Long Dead But Well Read: King Leir

  • Adobe Rose Theatre 1213 Parkway Drive Santa Fe, NM 87507 (map)

The ISC is developing an exciting new program called Long Dead But Well Read. It’s modeled on a program at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London called Read not Dead, in which actors convene on a morning, rehearse a play by a contemporary of Shakespeare’s during the day, and present the play in the late afternoon, script in hand.

The performances are instinctive, adrenaline driven, and inventive. Actors and audiences alike share in the excitement of reviving these forgotten plays that definitely deserve to be Read Not Dead.  —Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

We inaugurate the ISC series with The True Chronicle History of King Leir, and his three daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella.

This is not “The Tragedy” of King Lear; this anonymous play, one that scholars believe Shakespeare read before writing the tragedy that we know, could technically be called a comedy because no one dies in the end. This play does not contain the subplot of Gloucester, his two sons, nor the blinding, all of which Shakespeare took from The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Philip Sidney.

Our purpose in choosing this particular play during the ISC Year of Lear to launch Long Dead But Well Read is to see what another writer of Shakespeare’s time did with the same source material that Shakespeare used (Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain and Holinshed’s Chronicles). Why did Shakespeare change a commonplace historical event into such a bleak yet profound presentation of humankind? This production will encourage us to look more closely at the King Lear we know.

Saturday • September 1 • 3 to 5 p.m.
Adobe Rose Theatre

Tickets: $10 at the door

Earlier Event: August 31
The Fiesta Melodrama
Later Event: September 1
A Midsummer Night’s Dream