William Shakespeare

King Lear

One of the most sublime works of world dramatic literature, Shakespeare’s King Lear was written between 1603 and 1606. More than the aging king himself, the main character here is the storm: a real, dangerous and resounding storm of natural cycles, depicting the fragility of our lives and the overwhelming force of the universe in which we are but a droplet. Shakespeare set the tale in ancient Britain and as the source for the story he used the second edition of Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, published in 1587. The story opens as the elderly King Lear is deciding to give up the throne and divide his realm amongst his daughters. His plan is to give the largest piece of his kingdom to the daughter who loves him the most. Goneril and Regan flatter their father, but the youngest, Cordelia, surprises him by saying that love cannot be expressed with empty words. Enraged, Lear disowns Cordelia and she leaves for France. Lear intends to spend the remaining days of his life between his daughters, but they are both displeased with his stubborn behavior; they insult him and accuse him of arrogance. Doomed to wander on the heath, on the edge of insanity, he finally realizes his mistake, but it is too late for Cordelia. Realizing how wrong he has been, the tragic king dies of sorrow. No one emerges triumphant from this tragedy filled with political intrigues, secret alliances and conflicts. With its intricate plot and a multitude of characters, King Lear has been engrossing playgoers since its premiere in 1606, becoming one of the most frequently performed of Shakespeare’s plays. With its in-depth analysis of old age, parenting, relationships with those close to us, marital bonds, passions, extramarital affairs, perseverance and humility, this play counts as one of the fundamental works of dramatic literature. The complex internal structure infused with true emotions is a challenge for all theatre artists, while the problems and issues that the text raises are timeless. This great play is directed by Janusz Kica, who is joined by almost the entire drama ensemble of the CNT. The dramaturge is Lada Kaštelan, a renowned playwright and translator.

JANUSZ KICA, director, born in Wroclaw, he completed his theatre studies in Krakow and continued his education in Germany, where he began his professional career. He has directed numerous productions in almost all Zagreb’s theaters, and regularly directs in Austria, Germany and throughout Croatia. For the Drama of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb he has staged Goldoni’s The Holiday Trilogy, Dostoevsky’s Demons and Matišić’s Men of Wax, all highlights of last season, winning many awards.

Directed by Janusz Kica