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King Lear on campus

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The role of King Lear, who spurns his one faithful daughter in favor of his two wicked daughters before descending into madness, is considered one of the hardest roles in all of Shakespeare. Some say the part is just too large for most humans to encompass: Lear thunders with loss and sorrow, ("Vengeance! plague! death! confusion!"), wanders cursing through a violent storm (possibly a microburst?), tears off his clothes, and dresses himself in wild flowers."I have attended many stagings of King Lear, and invariably have regretted being there," the critic [Harold Bloom][1]wrote in his classic 1998 book Shakespeare : The Invention of the Human."In the pure good of theory, the part of Lear should be playable; if we cannot accomplish it, the flaw is in us, and in the authentic decline of our cognitive and literate culture," Bloom wrote. "Assaulted by films, television, and computers, our inner and outer ears have difficulty apprehending Shakespeare's hum of thoughts evaded in the mind."Next month, KU students will get a visit from a seasoned Broadway actor who has taken a crack at bringing the tragic king to life.![][2] Andre De Shields, who is now playing the title role in "Lear" at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.,(shown here in character) will be on the KU campus Thursday, March 8, through Sunday, March 11.De Shields' visit includes a public interview and question and answer session at 7:30 p.m. March 9 in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. He'll also conduct a worskhop for KU students on Shakespeare and "Extreme Theater" from 3 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. March 8 at Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.-contributed by Eric Weslander [1]: http://www.yale.edu/english/profiles/bloom_h.html [2]: http://www.news.ku.edu/2007/february/26/images/king_lear.jpg

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