King Lear

by William Shakespeare

  • Theatre
The 2015 archive

Olivier Py

Avignon / Created in 2015

On the wide open stage of the Cour d'honneur, Lear and Gloucester, disgraced fathers, wander aimlessly while their children plot. All are busy digging their own graves and between wars and self-delusions, they rush headlong towards the end of the world, towards oblivion.
Le Roi Lear

Practical infos

Presentation

King Lear, a play for the twentieth century? Convinced that it could be, Olivier Py worked on a new translation of Shakespeare's play, which he directs in the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des papes. A translation in free verse, sharp and in the present tense, to render the infernal machinery that is set in motion as soon as Lear asks the huge and unfathomable question that is at the heart of every family. Before surrendering his power to his daughters, he wants to know which of the three will express her love for him most emphatically and thus receive the largest share of his legacy. Cordelia's silence, more than just a proof of her integrity, shows the powerlessness of words when faced with reason wielded as an instrument. This silence drives Lear to madness, and everyone to ruin. Like a prophecy of the disasters to come three centuries later, the falsification of language and its acceptance lead to a bloodbath, in which even brothers and sisters turn on each other. On the wide open stage of the Cour d'honneur, Lear and Gloucester, disgraced fathers, wander aimlessly while their children plot. All are busy digging their own graves, heroes and villains, old men and young heirs; between wars and self-delusions, they rush headlong towards the end of the world, towards oblivion.

Shakespeare and King Lear
 The sun and moon eclipses Gloucester worries about at the beginning of Kear Lear allow us to date the play; the rare succession of those two phenomena indeed happened in England in 1605. There are however several versions of the famous tragedy: the first was published in quarto in 1606, the last in the First Folio, a compilation of thirty-six plays by Shakespeare, published in 1623. There are several different hypotheses as to the play's genesis, and Shakespeare seems to have been inspired by multiple sources: the figure of “Lir,” who first appeared in Celtic mythology, indeed plays a central role in several works of the 16th and 17th centuries.

"Le Roi Lear" was recorded July 7 and 8, and broadcasted live July 8 on France2

Distribution

Translation and direction Olivier Py
Scenography, set design, costumes and make up Pierre-André Weitz
Lights Bertrand Killy
Sound Rémi Berger Spirou
Assistant to the direction Thomas Pouget
Technical and production Festival d'Avignon

With
Avec Jean-Damien Barbin Le Fou
Moustafa Benaïbout
Cornouailles, Un messager
Nâzim Boudjenah (de la Comédie-Française) Edmond
Amira Casar Goneril
Céline Chéenne Régane
Eddie Chignara Kent
Matthieu Dessertine Edgar
Émilien Diard-Detoeuf Oswald, Bourgogne
Philippe Girard Lear
Damien Lehman France
Thomas Pouget Écosse, Un serviteur, Un vieil homme
Laura Ruiz Tamayo Cordélia
Jean-Marie Winling Gloucester

Production

Production Festival d'Avignon
Coproduction France Télévisions, Les Gémeaux Scène nationale de Sceaux, National Performing Arts Center - National Theater & Concert Hall (Taipei), Les Célestins Théâtre de Lyon, anthéa Antipolis théâtre d'Antibes, La Criée Théâtre national de Marseille
With the support of Région Île-de-France, Adami and Spedidam
With the artistic participation of the Jeune Théâtre National
Residency at FabricA of the Festival d'Avignon

In pictures

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