Friday, January 22, 2010

Fiery? What quality?

It's so cute that Hilton Als calls Young Jean Lee's production of King Lear "a hot mess." And I think that this review might be my favorite thing in this week's magazine.

(I dunno about Neil Gaiman. I'll get there.)

And I love the idea of a Lear-less King Lear. But I think I have to disagree with Als' big, closing jab,
What makes the conceit of her production so powerful—so fundamentally original—is the fact that [Lee] dispenses with the patriarch and chooses, instead, to wrestle with the souls of women in a manless land. The problem is that she retains Edmund and Edgar. Had she eliminated them, too, we might have been able to grapple directly with what Lee has suggested but not quite conveyed: what it must feel like for an exceptional young woman to stand up to the theatre’s ultimate Great White Father.
Lee has to retain Edmund, Edgar and Gloucester. Their struggles are 1) physically beautiful and sort of comic and 2) essential to the critical analysis of patriarchal authority in King Lear. I mean, you could leave them out, but I seriously would not.


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