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Lear in Brexitland

10 months ago

Lear in Brexitland

29 Sep 2023 - 07 Oct 2023

Shakespeare North Playhouse

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One Hour Theatre Company presents short plays for our time alongside storylines from William Shakespeare’s works.

Performances run for under an hour, and, afterward, we invite audience members to a free-flowing discussion on ideas and values from Shakespeare’s time, and how they make sense to us, now. OHTC brought Half Measures to Shakespeare North Playhouse in 2022, and our audiences delivered lively and memorable conversations on that occasion.

Lear in Brexitland, by Tim Prentki, was written in 2017 and was revised after an invited audience responsed to a script reading at SN Gallery (April 2023).  Tim’s play exploreswhat it means to be British today using scenes involving Shakespeare’s King Lear and his Fool alongside Lee Smith who, badly injured at work, finds himself in the next hospital bed to the demented and increasingly angry Lear. Lear’s despair is initially matched by Lee’s self-pity, but big questions from Shakespeare’s 17th century turn out to be important to us now.

Lear rages at chaos in his kingdom, to which his own actions have led, a fact his Fool never lets him forget.  Lee is in constant pain from his back injury and lashes out in rage at his British-Gujarati nurse and British-Polish consultant. Their calm responses to his furious prejudice, and the quality of the care they give him, confuse him. As he thinks this through, he wonders if we can ever know who we are, and who we might be, if we don’t try to understand where we’ve come from.   

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