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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Lear: Macready or Kean?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0543  Wednesday, 23 March 2005

From:           Scott Sharplin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Mar 2005 15:52:07 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 16.0529 Lear: Macready or Kean?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0529 Lear: Macready or Kean?

My research on the matter:

The "hybridized" performances of Lear probably began with David Garrick,
although some scholars think George Colman was the first to start
reintegrating Shakespeare onto the stage (see Harris 213-222). Garrick
restored most of Shakespeare's first three acts, although he retained
Tate's romantic sub-plot and followed Tate in eliminating the Fool. Acts
Four and Five are largely Tate's, though he omits the "grotto scene"
between Edmund and Regan. Garrick's final scene shifts back and forth
between Tate and Shakespeare's language before finally choosing Tate's
happy ending (Marsden 92). Colman (whose Lear played 1768-1773) favoured
Shakespeare for the first four acts (minus the Fool), and he omitted the
romantic sub-plot, but retained Tate's Act Five, happy ending and all
(Marsden 93-94). John Kemble's Lear (1792-1823) took a step backwards,
adopting a shorter version of Tate with only a few refinements from
Garrick and Colman (Adler 53). In 1823, Edmund Kean was the first
adaptor to use Shakespeare.s tragic ending; but he kept the romance
between Edgar and Cordelia, and he still omitted the Fool (Marsden 171).
Finally, in 1838, William Charles Macready produced Shakespeare's King
Lear, Fool and all;  but even then, Macready "eliminated half the lines
of Shakespeare's text, adapted the play to Victorian sensibilities, and
retained Tate's reordering of the scenes of the last three acts" (Adler 53).

Hastily copied from a paper in progress; email me off-list
(
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