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King Lear

By | March 2013
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Directed by Trevor Nunn, King Lear (2008) is a special film adaptation of Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Lear and it is the first Shakespearean play I have watched. Having read the plot summary from ‘Shakespeare Online’(Mabillard, 2004) and heard Ian McKellen would be starring as Lear, I was full of anticipation of how McKellen, who I also know of as Magneto from X-men and Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, would portray this foolish and tragic character. There were occasions where I struggled to comprehend what the characters were saying as I am not familiar with Elizabethan English. The actors’ facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice however, provided me with sufficienthints to grasp the general idea. I also noticed the elevated way of acting which I felt may have been too exaggerated for some of the scenes. One of which was when Cordelia incurred Lear’s wrath having failed to publicly display her love for him. One would think she is most fearless out of the sisters and that she would have expected Lear’s fury in reaction to her stubbornness; I expected her to be less fearful, not to the extent of running away to hide behind a pillar in shock. The soliloquies which were meant to be serious had a tinge of humour unfortunately. Since this film was recorded in a studio, the production had the benefit of a shifting camera and spotlights that could be controlled to focus onto the character they wish for the audience to pay attention to. Unlike the usual theatre settings, I was able to watch this film in varying angles. There are other benefits such as the luxury of rather elaborate props and different backdrops that may not have been possible to set up in time if it were a live performance(really? It will not be possible for Shakespearean England).The costumes were grand and each was dressed suitably to fit their roles. The youngest daughter Cordelia (acted by Romola Sadie Garai) was identifiable from her contemporary-looking dress which contrasted with...

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