A Noise Within’s 2016-2017 Season to include King Lear

A Noise Within

Photo credit: Michael Gutstadt

A Noise Within will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a season of 7 plays united by the theme, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams in 2016-2017. Among them is Shakespeare’s King Lear, which not only follows the gut-wrenching devastation of one man’s trajectory of power and hubris but is an affecting chronicle of a family as it disintegrates around the mental illness of its patriarch.

Written in 1606, with a second version appearing in 1623, Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and frequently performed tragedies. Based upon the tale of Leir of Britain, it tells of a fictional Celtic king whose story provides probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship. Lear’s misguided attempt to relinquish his throne in old age to his three daughters ends in tragic chaos, causing his madness and eventual death, as well as the death of his daughters.

To add a deeply personal dimension to Shakespeare’s themes of madness, frailty, and love, A Noise Within’s production will be set in a memory-care facility where, in the midst of tragedy, the healing and transcendent nature of great art prevails. The company last performed King Lear in 1994.

Season at a glance:

September 4 – November 20, 2016
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

September 18 – November 12, 2016
The Maids by Jean Genet

October 9 – November 19, 2016
The Imaginary Invalid by Molière
Adapted by Constance Congdon, Based on a new translation by Dan Smith

December 2 – 23, 2016
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Adapted for the stage by Geoff Elliott

February 12 – May 6, 2017
King Lear by William Shakespeare

March 5 – May 20, 2017
Ah, Wilderness! By Eugene O’Neill

March 26 – May 21, 2017
Man of La Mancha by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion

Subscriptions are currently available by calling 626-356-3100, or online at www.anoisewithin.org. A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107.


Arena Cinema Presents Free Shakespeare Film Series

bbcshakespeareposter_240_356_81_s_c1Mark your calendars now: Arena Cinema Hollywood is commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by presenting a Free Shakespeare film series. While the films are free, you must still make a reservation online at ArenaScreen.com or by calling (323) 306-0676. The Shakespeare series runs April 22 – 28 at Arena Cinema Hollywood, 1625 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028. Here’s what’s on the docket:

As You Like It
Sat. April 23 at 4:00 and Tues. April 26 at 5:30
This U.S. premiere is directed by Michael Elliott and Ronald Eyre and stars Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Allen, Ian Richardson, Patsy Byrne, Max Adrian and Patrick Wymark. BBC Worldwide North America. B&W, 1963 U.K., 135 minutes.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sunday, April 24 at 7:40; Thurs. April 28 at 5:30
Also a U.S. premiere, it is directed by James Cellan Jones and produced by Cedric Messina, starring Lynn Redgrave, Eileen Atkins, Michael Gambon, Edward Fox, Eleanor Bron, Robert Stephens and Ronnie Barker. Set in Edwardian England and filmed in and around Scotney Castle in Kent. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 1971, U.K., 120 minutes.

King Lear
Sun. April 24 at 5:00; Mon. April 25 at 7:10
Directed and adapted by Richard Eyre, this National Theater production is done in a sparse modernistic style and stars Ian Holm, Victoria Hamilton, Amanda Redman, Barbara Flynn, Timothy West and Paul Rhys. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 1998, U.K./U.S.A., 150 minutes.

The Taming of the Shrew
Sat. Apr. 23 at 9:55 p.m.; Tues. April 26 at 7:50
Directed by David Richards, adapted by Sally Wainwright and produced by Diederick Santer starring Shirley Henderson, Rufus Sewell, Santiago Cabrera, Twiggy Lawson, Jaime Murray and David Mitchell. In this sexy update, Kate is a Member of Parliament who marries up in order to advance her goal of becoming a party leader. BBC Worldwide North America. Color, 2005, U.K., 90 minutes.

Chimes at Midnight
Fri. Apr. 22 at 6:30; Sat. Apr. 23 at 6:20; Wed. April 27 at 7:10; Thurs. April 28 at 7:35
Directed by Orson Welles. Adapted by Welles from Henry IV, Part One; Henry IV, Part Two; and Henry V and The Holinshed Chronicles. Produced by Harry Saltzman, Emiliano Piedra and Angel Escolano. Starring Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford and Marina Vlady. Orson Welles as Falstaff in one of Welles’ finest achievements. Janus Films. B&W, 1967, France/Spain/Switzerland, 113 minutes.

Sun. Apr. 24 at 3:30; Mon. Apr. 25 at 5:30. Wed. Apr. 27 at 5:30
Directed and adapted by Bruce Ramsay. Produced by Ramsay, Joseph Gould and John Cassini. Starring Bruce Ramsay, Lara Gilchrist, Peter Wingfield, Gillian Barber, John Cassini and Duncan Fraser. This modern-dress version of the story of the melancholy Danish prince and the intrigues surrounding his family is set in postwar London. Breaking Glass Pictures. Color, 2014, Canada, 88 minutes.

Discounted parking is available with validation at lots adjacent to the venue and across the street.

See Colm Feore as King Lear in Cinemas Tonight Only

King Lear Fathom

Tonight, for one night only, you have the opportunity to see Colm Feore in The Stratford Festival’s production of King Lear which will play in quite a few cinemas around the state.  Click Here for a complete list. The 2 hours, 50 minute film (approximate) includes one intermission.

Captured live at the legendary Stratford Festival in Canada, King Lear is the story of a kingdom divided, a family destroyed, the faithful banished and the hateful left to wreak inhuman havoc in the realm. Four hundred years after it was written, King Lear resonates as never before. This powerful and unforgettable production of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy stars the incomparable Colm Feore in the role of a lifetime, directed by Stratford Festival Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino.

Shakespeare Uncovered: King Lear with Christopher Plummer

Shakespeare Uncovered

In the second episode of Shakespeare Uncovered – Series II, airing at 10:00 pm on January 30th, Christopher Plummer explores Shakespeare’s great tragedy, King Lear. It is a role he knows well, having played the doomed king in a critically acclaimed production that was directed by Sir Jonathan Miller.

Plummer’s guests include Ian McKellen and Simon Russell Beale who share their own unique observations about the play. He also talks with theatre historian Tanya Pollard about how Shakespeare’s Lear disappeared from the stage for nearly 150 years, replaced by a version with a happy ending in which Edgar rescues Cordelia and Lear and they all live happily ever after. That adaptation (written by Nahum Tate) still exists today. He takes us to the Globe Theatre where we see the alternate ending performed and then returns us to Shakespeare’s much more devastating tragedy.

You may be surprised to learn that Lear was a real English king who lived 800 years before Christ and much of the story is thought to be true. More

First Look: KING LEAR Comes to The Broad Stage

King Lear - Joseph Marcell

Joseph Marcell as King Lear and Rawiri Paratene as Gloucester

Direct from the UK, Shakespeare’s ultimate tragedy comes to The Broad Stage in a high-octane whirl of love and deceit, delivered with a thrilling physicality. Best known for his role on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Joseph Marcell (King Lear) is joined onstage by a powerhouse cast directed by Bill Buckhurst for one of the deepest artistic explorations of the human condition. Produced by the brilliant and daring Shakespeare’s Globe, this King Lear will leave you breathless with its style, wit, and gusto.

Old King Lear proposes to give up his crown and divide his kingdom between his three daughters, but his rash generosity is cruelly repaid. Lear discovers too late the falsity of the values by which he has lived, and is ultimately plunged into despair and madness.

The play is set on an Elizabethan style booth stage–inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time when touring was prevalent, and will be performed by eight actors. There will be a Q&A with cast members following the performances on Nov. 7 & 11, moderated by Broad Stage dramaturg, Jonathan Redding.

King Lear opens at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at 7:30 pm and will run for thirteen performances through Nov. 16.


November 5 – 16, 2014
The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage
1310 11th St. Santa Monica CA 90401
Tickets: (310) 434-3200 or

Photos of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre production of King Lear are by Ellie Kurttz

King Lear - The Broad

Joseph Marcell (Lear) and Bethan Cullinane (Cordelia)


Review: A Formidable Ellen Geer Becomes LEAR at Theatricum Botanicum

Lear - Theatricum Botanicum

Melora Marshall and Ellen Geer. Photos by Ian Flanders

A frightening thing happens when a woman plays the title role in a gender-reversed King Lear; the betrayal and revenge between mother and sons takes on an added level of horror. What was already tragic to begin with, as originally written for a father and daughters, now feels even more threatening in the reverse.

Perhaps it is because the bond between mother and child pre-dates even birth making the treachery of flesh born of flesh feel like the ultimate violation of a sacrosanct relationship. When it is a son raising his hand against his mother the threat is magnified, especially when viewed through the lens of today’s modern society.  More

Casts Announced for Theatricum Botanicum’s LEAR and MIDSUMMER

Ellen Geer with Aaron Hendry (L) as Goneril and Christopher W. Jones (R) as Regan. Photo credit: Ian Flanders

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its All-Shakespeare Summer Season in celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday with a gender-reversed Lear for the 21st century, opening on Saturday, June 7 at 8:00 pm, and the return of the company’s signature rendering of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with performances beginning Sunday, June 8 at 3:30 pm.

Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer takes on the title role in a new production that sees Lear divide her kingdom and test the loyalty of her three sons. Joining Geer onstage are longtime company members Aaron Hendry as Goneril, Christopher W. Jones as Regan and Dane Oliver as Cordelian. Alan Blumenfeld portrays the Earl of Gloucester, Abby Craden is Gloucester’s elder daughter, the bastard Igraine, and Willow Geer is her younger half-sister, Eden. More

Long Beach Shakespeare Company Plans a Month-long Shakespeare Celebration

LBSC logo

Long Beach Shakespeare Company kicks off Shakespeare’s birthday month beginning this weekend with the return of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). The three lewd, but lovely, ladies from last year’s production are back, bawdier and more hilarious than ever, with new gags, stunts, costumes and set design. March 28 – April 6. Tickets are $10. (Not suitable for young children.)

On April 11 and 12, LBSC presents Fractured Shakespeare, a one-man play in which Mark Twain discusses his ideas on who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, adapted from Twain’s “Is Shakespeare Dead.” No matter which side of the authorship question you’re on, this is a humorous and thought-provoking presentation, starring LBSC’s Man of a Thousand Voices, Carl Wawrina.

A staged reading of Richard Armour’s Twisted Tales from Shakespeare will take place on April 25 and 26. Born in San Pedro in 1906, Richard Armour attended Pomona College and then Harvard University. He studied with the eminent Shakespearean scholar George Lyman Kittredge, and obtained a Ph.D. in English philology. Twisted Tales From Shakespeare is a series of short pieces, filled with puns and plays on words, given in lecture style, providing a comic overview of some of the Bard’s best-known plays. The evening will especially comfort those who have been forced to sit through dull classes in Shakespeare in high school or college.


Theatricum Botanicum Presents an Intriguing All-Shakespeare Season

TB ShakespeareWill Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will celebrate the Bard’s 450th birthday with an All-Shakespeare Season this summer in Topanga Canyon. The 2014 five-play repertory season is a lively mix of tragedy and comedy, with a heaping teaspoon of Theatricum’s trademark social commentary that includes twists on King Lear and All’s Well That Ends Well; Shakespeare’s much-beloved Much Ado About Nothing; the company’s annual, signature production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Equivocation, the award-winning play by Bill Cain that goes behind the scenes at the legendary Globe Theatre as King James commissions a young William “Shagspeare” to write a play about a thwarted attempt on his life.

In addition, Theatricum has been selected to participate in “Shakespeare on the Road,” a 60-day road trip by a team representing the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust that will visit and document Shakespeare-related theater festivals across America during the 450th birthday of Shakespeare in 2014 and the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.

“William Shakespeare, more than any other writer, chronicles every one of our emotions: love, jealousy, rage, romance, despair, joy, tenderness and humor,” says Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer. “We understand our world – and ourselves – better because of him.”


Making Cordelia, a Modern Noh Play Innovating Shakespeare’s King Lear

Cordelia ScrippsThe San Francisco-based Theatre of Yugen will lecture and perform excerpts from Cordelia, a unique Japanese Noh interpretation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, on March 5th at 7:30 pm at Scripps College Performing Arts Center. The adaptation emphasizes the point of view of Cordelia, Lear’s youngest daughter and the play’s heroine. Actors and musicians perform a modified version of Shakespearean dialogue that has been translated into Japanese and realized in the poetic, lyrical style of Noh, which requires that many of them wear masks while in character.

In 1911, Natsume Soseki, theatre critic for the Asahi Shimbun and professor of English at Tokyo University, suggested that if Shakespeare was to be translated into Japanese it might be interesting to realize it in the unique poetic style of Noh, Japan’s masked lyric drama. Surprisingly few attempts to bring together these theatrical traditions have been attempted in the intervening one hundred years.  More

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