ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE THEATRE: 'KING LEAR'
7:30 p.m. Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $27.
The titular ruler seeks to divide his kingdom, apportioning it to his daughters on the basis of which one loves him most. He finds only empty flattery, betrayal, trickery and, of course, tragedy. Rebekah Scallet, producing artistic director of AST and the one at the helm of this production, has been enthralled by "King Lear" since college.
According to her director's note, Scallet enrolled in "Advanced Shakespeare" expecting to delve deep into more obscure works such as "Troilus and Cressida," only to learn that the entire semester would be spent solely on "King Lear." "I thought, 'A whole semester on one play? How is that possible? What will talk about all those classes?' I was in for an adventure, though, because not only did we have plenty to talk about, I left that class thinking I could spend at least two or three more semesters exploring the play. I also left with a strong desire to direct it: to engage with the text in a performance context and continue on the road to discovery and understanding."
Scallet has gotten her chance to direct the great tragedy. Given the general acclaim that AST has earned over the last several years, I predict it will be an illuminating performance. The play will also be performed at the same place and time on Saturday and Sunday.