King Lear is NCPA’s third production of a Shakespearean play, after A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, this time in cooperation with Mr. LI Liuyi’s Drama Theatre studio in Beijing. As a tribute to the master playwright, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has extended a special invitation to the script supervisor of the Royal Shakespeare Company to coach the actors, and selected Mr. YANG Shipeng’s rendering as the rehearsal script. German-born set designer, Michael Simon and Academy Award winner for Best Costume Design, Emi Wada combine talents to recreate The Bard’s cast of characters and ruined palace.
Additionally, the renowned theatre actor, PU Cunxin, gives a stark portrayal of Lear's departure from the height of glory and lapse into vagrancy. Lear’s three daughters’ vastly different personalities are brought to life on stage by YANG Qi and LU Fang, respectively. French-schooled actor WEI Xiaoping, the Beijing People’s Art Theatre’syoung actor, JIN Hao, and ZHAO Ling, from NCPA’s acting company, will play the Earl of Gloucester and his two sons. As the cast brings to light the two families’ desirous aims and secret plots in their striving for power, so too do they reenact the epic of human history, as well as present us with deep truths about our human condition.
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Translator: YANG Shipeng
Script Translation Reviser: LI Liuyi
Executive Presenter: WANG Ning
Artistic Director: XU Xiaozhong
Director: LI Liuyi
Set Designers: Michael Simon, GONG Xun
Costume Designer: Emi Wada
Lighting Designers: LI Liuyi, CHEN Xiaji
Music/Sound Designer: LIU Bo
Props Designers: GONG Xun, LIU Haifei
Text Co-ordinators: LIN Weiyu, WENG Shihui
Deputy Director: YUAN Jinhong
Script Consultant: Anna Gwen
Line Guide: Katie Geff
King Lear: PU Cunxin ●
Earl of Gloucester: WEI Xiaoping ▲
Regan: LU Fang ▲
Edgar: JING Hao ▲
Edmund: ZHAO Ling ●
Goneril: YANG Qi ●
Cordelia: WAN Qianhui ▲
Earl of Kent: Jampa Tseten ▲
Fool: LUO Wei ●
Duke of Albany: FU Pengxu ▲
Duke of Cornwall: SUN Lishi ●
Oswald: WANG Haowei ●
Duke of Burgundy: GUO Shuojie ●
Old man: WU Song ●
● stands for NCPA Drama Ensemble Member
▲ stands for LI Liuyi Theatre Studio Member
British King Lear, getting older in his years, and desirous to rescind his throne, decides to divide the royal territories from among his three daughters. While he is awarding them their shares, the young Cordelia, explains with sincerity that she can not give all of her love totally to her father, whereupon he disinherits her in a fit of rage. Lear’s kingdom is divided between the two older daughters who regaled him with flattery, Goneril and Regan. The King of France, recognizing Cordelia’s integrity, marries the forsaken Cordelia.
The Earl of Gloucester's illegitimate son, Edmund having long coveted his older brother Edgar’s claim their father’s title, forges a letter incriminating him in a parricidal plot to usurp it. Gloucester, in a fit of rage, issues an order for Edgar’s capture and elevates Edmund to a position of power. Edgar has no choice but to assume the identity of a madman and flee into exile.
Shortly after Lear renounces his throne, his two daughters, each in possession of their shares of the kingdom, speedily cast him out, leaving him to wander in the backwoods. Astray in the wilderness and exposed to the elements, Lear’s feelings of rage and regret drive him to madness. But his daughters press on, wishing to thwart future complications and prepare to murder him. In a moment of crisis, Gloucester releases Lear and is in turn gets exposed by his illegitimate son Edmund, who has his eyes gouged out, and flees Dover. The other son, Edgar, accompanies his father disguised as a man named Tom. The youngest daughter, Cordelia, raises an army to rescue her father, but is defeated, captured and put to death. Lear mustwitness it all and dies in woeful sorrow.