Fully conscious Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Gym!

The informal performance for friends and family of the Shakespeare Gym took place last night. The audience was small (to the relief of participants, who were nervous enough as it was) but appreciative. By the end of the performance, I was sorry that we hadn't had a packed house.

With only three actors (and a participating director) it was necessary to divide the first act into 3-4 person chunks, with the actors changing character on stage. Sound cues and lighting, run by Upstart Crows Joy Farkas and Zoe Marriner, helped smooth the transitions.

The three participants had spent close to 12 hours going deeply into the text of King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1. They knew where every irregularity in iambic pentameter occurred, they had uncovered all the implicit stage directions that the meter and rhetoric provided, they'd experimented with different ways to physically interpret those cues, and they'd developed some highly informed ideas about what is going on in that amazing first scene of Lear.

All of that was on display Sunday night as each gesture and vocal inflection expressed what was found in those hours of discovery. The performances were a revelation for actor and audience alike. The post-show party turned into a kind of talk-back with the actors/seminar on the scene and the play. A very good time was had by all!