The cast of the International Shakespeare Center Santa Fe’s production of “King Lear” has spent a solid year preparing for a presentation of its production, which takes place from September 14 through 30 at the Adobe Rose Theatre.
Starring Santa Fe neurologist Paul Walsky, “King Lear” features a cast that participated in a master workshop with Rodney Cottier, the director and head of drama at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, a master class with Edward Daranyi from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and a Laban movement workshop with Ariana Karp, the director of the Ducdame Ensemble.
“Paul is breathtaking in the role of King Lear,” says the production’s director Caryl Farkas, who is also the president of the four-year-old International Shakespeare Center Santa Fe.
“He has done Lear before and has wanted to come back to it forever,” Farkas adds. “We did have an open audition process, and while there were some other good actors, everyone involved in the selection process wanted Paul for the role.”
Farkas says there’s been nothing stale about reading through the play for six months and then entering into intense rehearsals since the beginning of August.
“Our vision of the play has changed quite a bit over time,” she reveals. “Actors are constantly making new discoveries about the play.”
“King Lear,” one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, is about the gradual descent into madness of an aging king of Britain who decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. He puts his daughters through a test, asking each one to tell him how much she loves him. Lear’s older daughters flatter him. Cordelia, the youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent and says she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns her.
Karp, who is not only an actor and director but also a cellist, composed and recorded original cello music for the show. “It’s really its own style of music and not entirely written in a Renaissance style,” says Farkas.