Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan

Colm Feore returns to the Festival stage as King Lear begins previews

King Lear - Stratford Festival - Photo by Don Dixon, Digital Artist, Krista Dodson.

Colm Feore returns to the Stratford Festival for the first time in five years to play the title role in King Lear, directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, fresh from his triumphs with last season's Mary Stuart and The Merchant of Venice. King Lear starts previews on Monday, May 5, at the Festival Theatre and opens the 2014 season on Monday, May 26.

Feore returns to Stratford since he starred as Macbeth and Cyrano de Bergerac in 2009. Throughout his 17 seasons, he has played many title roles, including Don Juan, Coriolanus, Hamlet, Richard III and Romeo. Mr. Feore is also a familiar face on film and television, featured in The Borgias, Revolution and The Good Wife, as well as Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which opens in theatres this weekend. Recently, Mr. Feore was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions as an actor of the stage and screen, notably bridging Anglophone and Francophone cultures as a fluently bilingual performer.

 Colm is at the height of his powers

 Director Antoni Cimolino

"Colm is at the height of his powers," says Mr. Cimolino, who will also direct Mr. Feore in The Beaux' Stratagem later this season. "He is an actor who can project incredible intelligence and strength while also being able to capture the nuances of Lear's decline."

Colm Feore as King Lear King Lear tells the story of an aging monarch who proposes to divide his kingdom among his three daughters after requiring each in turn to publicly profess how much she loves him. This decision sets in motion a train of events that rob him of his home, his status and his sanity - everything except the honest love and loyalty of his youngest daughter, Cordelia, whom he had forsaken. As Shakespeare's greatest exploration of the human condition, King Lear is a fitting choice within this season's theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge.

"King Lear documents not only the breakdown of an old king and the destruction of two families but that of an entire country - and by extension, the society we live in today," says Mr. Cimolino. "The play was written in tough times, with growing religious tensions, rapid economic changes that drove extreme income disparity, great divisions between king and parliament that would lead a generation to civil war and end in the beheading of a monarch. In 1606, the play was on some level prophetic. Sadly, perhaps, it always will be."

"In directing King Lear, I have urged our actors and creative teams to think about the issues it raises for us today. In his journey through madness, Lear finds the need for social justice, faith in humanity, and love, and thereby discovers his soul. But in his and Cordelia's death, the horror around him, there is no victory for hope. The last words are 'We that are young / Shall never see so much, nor live so long.' Perhaps Shakespeare was inviting us - and especially those who are young - to write a different play within our own lives, that of our families and one world."

In addition to Mr. Feore, the production features Maev Beaty as Goneril, Evan Buliung as Edgar, Sara Farb as Cordelia, Jonathan Goad as the Earl of Kent, Brad Hodder as Edmund, Stephen Ouimette as the Fool, Liisa Repo-Martell as Regan and Scott Wentworth as the Earl of Gloucester. The artistic team includes Designer Eo Sharp, Lighting Designer Michael Walton, Composer Keith Thomas, Sound Designer Thomas Ryder Payne, Fight Director John Stead and Dramaturges Alexander Leggatt and Toby Malone.

Antoni Cimolino    Evan Buliung   Liisa Repo-Martell      Maev Beaty Sara Farb

King Lear

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