Monday, November 03, 2008

King Lear, The Rise and Fall of Baseball

The Re-Theatre Instrument **Photo credit: Sam Kusnetz**
October 24 - November 9, 2008

Summary:

Retiring commissioner Lear, vain, full of hubris, steps down while blithely conveying power on those whose leadership skews more laissez faire than fair. Players on steroids, runaway salaries, corrupt executives and a disgruntled mascot vie for equilibrium on an unlevel playing field. Will our beloved national pastime survive? Great website.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some decent performances here, but overall, the concept doesn't hold water.

And the ending, as written, makes absolutely no sense.

sam kusnetz said...

the cast, crew, directors, and designers have all signed their names to this production. please have the respect to do the same with your commentary.

Anonymous said...

I auditioned for this show a year ago and thought the concept sounded dubious, as I imagine many others did. But it actually works surprisingly well, a lot of the dialogue is snappy and startling, and most of the cast does creditable work. Roisum is spell-binding as always. The strongest through-line is the Edmund-Edgar subplot; Buckley is a bit skinny to pass for a pro baseball player, but his "mad" scenes as a homeless kid in the subway are terrific. Atkinson makes an excellent Kent, and the greatest transformation of all is Joseph Sousa's fan/mascot version of the Fool. Gorham's Gloucester is good, although I would have recommended a more believable, modern substitute for his blinding, if possible. (Why not call the police?) The show loses steam in the final scenes: the Goneril-Albany confrontation lacks sufficient fire, and there are too many loose ends. (What happened to the three women, Lear, Edmund?) The video bits are quite nice: veteran Portland actors play retired players and longtime fans who testify to changes in baseball and the glories of the past, documentary style, as a cover for set changes. And a great combat sequence was missed: you could feel the audience expecting Edmund to take a bat to Edgar when he got sacked; the villain gave up without a fight.

In a word, this was a refreshing piece of work.

Anonymous said...

My biggest question after watching the production was "why?" To me, it felt like the concept was "I love baseball, and I like Lear, lets mesh the two." But as a result, I missed the high stakes of Shakespeare's masterpiece...

Maybe someone involved could answer my question; why baseball?

Chris Murray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Um, Sam?

No.

theresa hernandez said...

Lear superseded by specter of baseball; rather than his tragedy, it is transformed into the tragic destruction of an American idyll. I’m neutral regarding baseball, but even I felt the ache, which is what fascinated. Either by choice or consequence, relationships of love - Lear with Cordelia, Kent, Edgar and Gloucester, are buried and missed. Directed, half cast (other half excellent) with smidgen of drama; drags; conclusion logical if lacking impact of original; lighting ineffectual. Would I have liked the play if I hadn’t known it was rooted in “King Lear”? I don’t know.

With all its flaws…script gets under your skin and you ponder afterwards. Support this ensemble creation. A promising company, fascinating process, and premise. Excited for more.

Anonymous said...

Overall the show was fine, but someone should teach the boys how to finish a pitch and the right way to hold a bat.

More Peter Gammons jokes.