Tragic tale of an unwise king to be presented for first time here

The Compañía Nacional de Teatro will explore the theme of ungrateful children in a presentation of “King Lear,” the Shakespearian epic known as “Rey Lear” in Spanish.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said that this is the first time that the play will be presented in Costa Rica.

As with most of the great Shakespearian dramas, nearly everyone dies after displaying timeless truths about human behavior.

“King Lear” could be modernized as a rich older man deciding how to distribute his estate to his three daughters.

In the case of Lear, he foolishly decided to favor with his kingdom those who could show that they loved him the most. Naturally, excessive amounts of flattery ensue,  except from the honest younger daughter Cordelia.  Lear is taken in, and Cordelia gets the boot. Lear finds out the two eldest daughters tricked him and cannot stand their doddering old father.

Various levels of intrigue follow, and Cordelia returns married to the King of France and leading his army. Madness, bloodshed, more trickery, poisonings and worse ensue, so much so that some directors have been inclined to create a happy ending.

The role of Lear is one of the most sought-after in drama and right up there with Richard III and Hamlet.

The Compañía Nacional de Teatro production will be on stage starting Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Teatro de La Aduana at the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23.

The play runs Thursday through Saturdays at that time and Sundays at 3 p.m. until Dec. 1, The ministry suggested that the play would not be appropriate for those younger than 14. Admission is 4,000 colons, about $8 with a 50 percent discount for seniors and students.

Shakespeare wrote the play in the early years of the 17th century. He may have based the work on a mythical early king of Britain.

The theater company will have 16 actors in the play.

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