The King Lear Project
Directed by Geoff O’Keeffe
Since their first production of Macbeth in 2013, to their last staging of Romeo and Juliet whose run was abruptly ended on its penultimate performance back in March 2020, thousands and thousands of exam students have enjoyed Mill Productions approach to Shakespeare in the inimitable DLR Mill Theatre. There is some irony in knowing that Shakespeare most probably wrote King Lear in a time of plague, where theatres were regularly shut. Over 400 years later as our theatres remain dark, circumstances forced them to reach out to audiences in new ways.
They therefore have brought King Lear directly into the homes of teachers, students and the general public. Director Geoff O’Keeffe worked with three actors to examine and interrogate key scenes from the play. This free online exploration filmed at DLR Mill Theatre combined academic analysis, their creative approach to the work and the presentation of the scenes themselves. By doing this, students get an insight into the artistic choices that are made, to bring these scenes to life. In a time when institutions crumble, and the order of things has been turned on its head, they welcome you to The King Lear Project.
Available to view on the DLR Mill Theatre You Tube channel here »
Directed by Geoff O’Keeffe with Michael James Ford, Niamh Mc Allister and Matthew O’Brien and Produced by Karen Carleton for Mill Productions at the DLR Mill Theatre, Dundrum. Funded by Creative Ireland.
The Project is divided into 5 Parts:
Part 1 | Act 1, Sc 1
The division of a Kingdom and the banishment of both a favourite daughter and a trusted friend, send Lear on a descent into madness
Part 2 | Act 1, Sc 2
Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester draws us into his confidence in one of the very few soliloquies in the play
Part 3 | Act 1, Sc 4
As Lear’s plans start to unravel in front of him and his identity becomes stripped away, his vicious attack on his daughter Goneril is full of fury.
Part 4 | Act 3, Sc 2
Perhaps there is no scene more iconic than the storm coming at the climax of Lear’s anger, it marks the beginning of a new sense of self awareness and ability to empathise with others.
Part 5 | Act 4, Sc 6
The company reflect on the journey Lear has undertaken. The man he was and the man he has become. They discuss the sadness and humour of the scene and reflect on how two fathers learn to see by having everything stripped away – to nothing.