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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: November ::
Qs: *Lear* -- Casting and Kent's Fate
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 943. Wednesday, 23 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Marty Jukovsky <
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        Date:   Monday, 21 Nov 94 20:08:26
        Subj:   Females as Males in King Lear
 
(2)     From:   Joshua G. Fruhlinger <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Nov 1994 11:14:07 +0100
        Subj:   Kent's Fate
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marty Jukovsky <
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Date:           Monday, 21 Nov 94 20:08:26
Subject:        Females as Males in King Lear
 
I recently saw a performance by Emerson College of _King Lear_ at the Emerson
Majestic Theater in Boston.  It was generally a decent production, but was
distinguished by females playing three roles--the Fool, Edmund, and Edgar.  I
can see the Fool, an androgynous, neuter sort of character being played by a
woman; in fact, it came off very well, with one of the best performances of
the evening.  But it didn't work with the brothers.  There was no attempt to
masculinize them, other than pulling their hair back.  I found it a constant
distraction.  Since no other gender-switching was done in the play, I can only
assume that the director was trying to stress the mirroring of Lear/Daughters
in Gloucester/Sons by making the sons the same sex as the daughters--as though
the relationship of the plot to the subplot needed underlining.  I though that
aspect was misguided and marred the performance.  Has this ever been attempted
before?
 
Martin Jukovsky
Editor
the Yankee Group
Boston, Mass.

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joshua G. Fruhlinger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Nov 1994 11:14:07 +0100
Subject:        Kent's Fate
 
Does anyone know if there has ever been any suggestion of Kent's suicide at
the end of *Lear*? In the final scene, in which everyone else is dropping
like flies and having their corpses dragged out onto stage, Kent's last
line is something like (I'm in a public lab and don't have the text here)
"My master has died and is calling me, and I must follow him."  Am I
correct in believing that most of the stage directions in modern editions
are interpolated from the dialouge anyway? Just curious.  Not that the end
of the play isn't depressing enough anyway.
 
-Josh Fruhlinger
Cornell University
 

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