King Lear

Do you ever get the feeling during a Shakespeare production that, for all its sesquipedalian grandiosity, you’re really watching a medieval sitcom? Director Paul Budraitis brings this sacrilegious suspicion to the forefront, rendering Lear’s tragic tale of filial betrayal as an entertaining romp, in modern attire, of an irascible old man and his bratty daughters. I was taken with both the truly creepy live atmosphere music (as well-scored as anything I’ve heard in a slasher flick) and the fiendish arachnid postures that Regan (Gina Russell) and her avaricious husband (Joseph McLaughlin) adopt after their villainous intentions are revealed. The actors handle the bard’s Elizabethan dialect with impressive stamina, although their pace occasionally overran into incomprehensibility. However, the players—for example, Gloucester’s scheming bastard (both by birth and disposition) son Edmund (Daniel Brockley)— emoted nearly to the point of doing themselves bodily harm, ensuring that the audience was able to match the swift, complex stage action with the equally intricate dialogue. Beneath the high drama, the entire cast beautifully portrayed their characters’ fallibility, inspiring a melancholy empathy for their doomed personae. If you are not apt to be miffed by an actor pointing you out in the audience and screaming, “Adulterer!” then this play is a sure bet. JENNA NAND 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. (except Nov. 27). Ends Nov. 30.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 6. Continues through Nov. 30, 2008

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