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A Taste of Shakespeare Series
King Lear

A video guide to one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies.

A printer-friendly version of this page 58 minutes
Directed by Eric Weinthal
Produced by Eugenia Educational Foundation
Cast: David Fox as King Lear, Geoff Bowes as the Earl of Kent and the narrator
Designed by Cameron Porteous

"Most appealing to modern audiences because of the clarifying explanations." Booklist
Like the other programs in the series A Taste of Shakespeare, the purpose of this video is to help modern audiences, especially students, identify with the universal themes in Shakespeare's plot line.

In KING LEAR, Lear is not only an aging ruler who foolishly places the keys to his kingdom in the wrong hands, he is also a stubborn old man who demands a public declaration of love from his daughters before they'll get their inheritance.

The two older daughters, Goneril and Regan, profess an extravagant devotion they do not feel. The loving youngest daughter, Cordelia, rebels against the love-test and gives an honest but cool reply. Lear's enraged and ill-conceived response tears the family and the kingdom apart.

Shakespeare's great scenes are vividly presented in all their power, pathos and pain. The Earl of Kent is our narrator and comments on the action with increasing apprehension as the catastrophic events unfold.

The other titles in the series are:

Hamlet - A video guide to Shakespeare's most famous play.

The Merchant of Venice - A video guide to the play from Shylock's point of view.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - A video guide to the loveliest of Shakespeare's romantic comedies.

Romeo and Juliet - A video guide to this cautionary tale of teenage love.

Macbeth - A video guide to Shakespeare's "tragedy of blood".

Othello - A video guide to one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, dealing with revenge and pride.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2001     Copyright Date: 2000
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-164-9     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-889-8

"This finely acted performance of monstrous plotting and intrigue is most appealing to modern audiences because of the clarifying explanations."
Carol Holzberg, Booklist

"In a particularly beautiful setting for the last scene, at water's edge, a heartbroken Lear lays his dead daughter on the rocky beach and dies beside her. Omitted scenes and abbreviated lines are so judiciously chosen, they are not needed to understand or enjoy the rendition. The video will be best used as a teaching resource at the high school or college level."
Vicki Reutter, School Library Journal

"A TASTE OF SHAKESPEARE is the answer to a teacher's prayer. It serves a pressing need by introducing students to the plays of William Shakespeare in a way that makes each play accessible and compelling viewing.

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Links (The producer's web site)
Study guide

Awards and Festivals
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film Festival

English Literature
Language Arts
Performing Arts

Related Titles

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... more Reviews

[Each program] maintains the language and key scenes of the play which are tied together by an intelligently crafted connecting summary. The result in each case is a thoroughly informative and entertaining overview of the key themes and motifs of each of the drama...the students' appetites for the whole play will be well wetted. Equally important, they will be able to undertake their study of the text with a clear understanding of its over-arching architecture and a real feel for its drama and language. This is unquestionably the most satisfying, authoritative and pedagogically useful video introduction to the...plays of William Shakespeare I have seen. This series is a superb achievement - a wonderful marriage of modern scholarship and media production."
Dr. John MacDonald, Professor of English Education, University of Toronto

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