Don’t Miss Your Chance to See King Lear at the Paramount

Posted October 15, 2014 by Lindsey Day in Theater & Arts
Joseph Marcell in King Lear

This week and next week, one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays comes to Emerson’s Paramount Theater, courtesy of world-renowned Shakespeare’s Globe, a London theatre troupe. You don’t need to be a fan of the Bard to see King Lear: If you’re a Fresh Prince of Bel Air fan, for example, you’ll want to see it because it stars actor Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey in Fresh Prince. The play features an ensemble cast of eight actors, who play a broad range of characters. The action takes place on a reinvented booth stage, which was the classic stage design during the Elizabethan period in which Shakespeare wrote.

King Lear Comes to the Paramount

King Lear focuses on the relationship between an aged father (King Lear) and his three daughters (Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia). Lear is dividing his kingdom between his daughters, and decides to offer the most land to the daughter who has the most love for him. Two of his children flatter him, while one refuses to play games with her loyalty.

Lear is taken in by his two unctuous daughters, disinherits the third (who goes on to marry the King of France), and plans to spend the remainder of his days being cared-for by his two “loyal” daughters. These daughters ultimately betray him,  and Lear goes mad, delivering a famed speech in his mad state. The French send troops to wage war against Lear’s dishonest children, with devastating consequences for all involved. The play is a powerful story on truth, redemption, madness, and family loyalty that is just as relevant now as it was when Shakespeare wrote it.

Shakespeare's Globe

The theater is now located along the Thames river.

More on Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe offers touring and London-based productions of Shakespeare’s works, as well as comprehensive Shakespeare education designed to increase the understanding of and appreciation for Shakespeare by people of all ages using the medium of theater. The Globe theater has become a world-class tourist destination for theater fans of all ages. It boasts performances, tours, education programs, special events, and workshops.

The theater is now located along the Thames river, and is a rebuilding of the 1599 Globe theater in which Shakespeare premiered his works. It stands just a few hundred yards from the original site and is as historically accurate a representation as possible, given the information gathered on the original Globe. Shakespeare’s Globe is the end result of a dream set in motion in 1949, when American actor, director, and producer Sam Wanamaker fell in love with Shakespeare’s history on a trip to London.

Shakespeare’s Globe has wowed local audiences before, most notably during a 2012 production of Hamlet. Joseph Marcell has also worked with the troupe before, appearing in their production of Much Ado About Nothing.

If You Go

The troupe’s performance has been very well received, with Marcell getting excellent reviews for his performance as the title character. It runs from October 15-23. You may purchase tickets at the Paramount box office or the ArtsEmerson webpage. Evening performances generally begin at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees start at 2:00 p.m.

You may want to eat beforehand to fortify yourself for the show. The performance runs for three hours and includes only one intermission. Luckily, the Paramount Theater is in Downtown Crossing, with many options nearby for food or drinks before or after the show. This is one not to miss, so do plan ahead if you want to go to ensure you get the best tickets on the day of your choice.