King Lear is a man that does not want to be King. At least that is what the beginning of the play wants us to believe. But I believe the opening scene to be a rigged game in which Lear, always the mysterious center of his own world, is excited to “express [a] darker purpose.” For reasons not explicitly conveyed– perhaps political, perhaps personal, perhaps more devious than not– Lear decides to give up the throne and gift the better parts of his kingdom to whichever of his three daughters does love him most. But in reality, Lear has already divided the kingdom according to pre-conceived notions, and the distribution does not depend on what his daughters actually say. It is a setup; one that Lear has spent years stage-managing. However, it does not go according to his plan, and the flint is sparked when King Lear turns to his favorite, his beloved Cordelia, and, shockingly, she does not express exactly what he thought she would express. Cordelia is her own, stubborn individual and resolves it better to not play into her role as dutiful daughter. What a terrifyingly novel idea for a young girl, the youngest daughter of three, the motherless child of a King prone to dragon-wrath. This decision sets off the King. It sets off the entire play into a furious flurry of tests, alliances, secret communiqués, rash decisions, actings out, disguises, doubts, fears, divisions, and expressions of madness that lead to a brutal battle for what remains of Lear and his broken kingdom.

Division: of land, of love, of mental faculties.
Division creates a shattered and broken kingdom where darkness and betrayal corrupt truth and purpose. Heartache impedes repair.

Madness: perceived, feared, embraced.
Madness is a dynamic and nihilistic force, an uncompromising storm that infects the mind and soul of a recalcitrant man.

Brutality: of Nature, from within, against each other.
This world is a brutal one in which Lear attempts to fight against impending mortality. He attempts to fight against the loss of his kingdom and crown. He attempts to fight against the grisly and catastrophic end of his family, his legacy, and his own life.

Is there forgiveness? Is there redemption?
What is to be gained from such a bleak and cruel reality?
A few tenets we’ve rehearsed by:
-There is wisdom in fools.
-There is truth from madmen.
-Through blindness, we can see.
-There is deep feeling in the world, and it needs to be expressed.

When we are feeling, then we are living.