Art & Design

   

The Shadow King

Posted by

<
>

The Shadow King transports Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear to the far north of Australia, where a remote Indigenous community grapples with the tension between traditional law and the capitalist imperatives of land rights.

Co-created by director Michael Kantor and performer Tom E. Lewis, with a text translated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cast into a mix of English, northern Kriol, and Aboriginal languages, it is an ambitious and heart wrenching production.

Lear (played by Lewis himself) is not a literal king, but a ruler in his family nonetheless. When he asks, as his Shakespearean namesake does, which of his three daughters loves him the most in order to determine the heir to his land, it’s a mixture of stubborn pride and misplaced humility, a refusal to admit his country will outlast him.

The eldest daughters, Goneril (Jada Alberts) and Regan (Natasha Wanganeen), falsely espouse their affections, but the young Cordelia (Rarriwuy Hick) nobly refuses to pander to his ego. A bruised Lear banishes her to exile, and relinquishes his land to the eldest two—unwittingly exposing them to the machinations of the scheming Edmund Gloucester (Jimi Bani).

The set-up is fairly faithful to Shakespeare’s tragedy, but here the fatal flaw is not only greed but, as Lear’s Fool (Kamahi Djordon King, the play’s narrator and conscience) observes, the misguided notion that land can ever be owned. The salience of this point is reinforced by the centrepiece of the set design, a monstrous road-train rising out of red earth that is a reminder that viewing land as simply wealth can result in its exploitation.

Lear’s decision brings every character into conflict, and the drama unfolds with a mostly cracking pace. The multilingual text blends lyricism and an unmannered naturalism, and is complemented by the earthy characterisation—Albert’s commanding Goneril, for example, is a single mother with a husband in jail.

Not all of this character work is even, however, and some moments (in particular, the violent ones) feel forced into place. But these are minor quibbles in an overall highly affecting and authoritative production that is set to tour the Australian festival circuit. It deserves an international run as well.

The Shadow King is playing at Malthouse Theatre (as part of Melbourne Festival) until 27 October.
For more information and tickets visit: www.malthousetheatre.com.au


Entertainment

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2017/01/18/so-frenchy-so-chic-2017/

So Frenchy So Chic 2017

So Frenchy So Chic celebrates the wonderful culture and zest for life that is so central to the French way of living.

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2016/12/19/banging-down-americas-dawes/

Banging Down America’s Dawes

Monique Dawes is an Australian actor and performing artist who is tenaciously working to take her career to the next level in Los Angeles.

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2016/12/14/royal-croquet-club-2016/

Royal Croquet Club 2016

The Royal Croquet Club is back in town in all its might and majesty with some of the best food and music Melbourne has to offer.

Photo & Video

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2015/04/02/the-10th-whitelion-bail-out-charity-fundraiser/

The 10th Whitelion Bail Out Charity Fundraiser

Bail Out's plans to help out Melbourne's disadvantaged youth.

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2014/10/15/the-fox-darkroom/

The Fox Darkroom

Snap away with The Fox Darkroom, a mecca for photography aficionados to learn all about the traditional methods of black and white photography.

http://www.milkbarmag.com/2014/05/30/somewhere-else-video-sings-of-summer/

Somewhere Else video sings of summer

It almost sounds like the premise of a reality TV show: pile a bunch of artists in a bus for seven days, send them across Mexico and see what happens.