‘Nothing will come of nothing’

Sam Waterston and Kristen Connolly star in “King Lear,” onstage at the Public Theater through Sunday.

Purists believe that the only way to do Shakespeare is to be straightforward and unedited; in the case of James Macdonald’s “King Lear” at the Public, the direct delivery of the play is its downfall.
Clocking in a nearly four hours, the hefty production begs for a swift delivery and enticing visuals.

But the first act sloughs through the story’s setup, which many viewers already know. The set is quite bare and simplistic, robbing us a sense of time and place but leaving us room to appreciate the striking lighting designed by Christopher Akerland. As the play progresses, props of previous scenes are left on the stage where they fall — perhaps a commentary on how our past stays with us, or maybe we had too much time to think about it.

The greatest tragedy of the night was indeed King Lear, but for all the wrong reasons. Sam Waterston, a noted vet with the Bard’s works, diminished the role to a series of hoarse shouts stuck somewhere between proud and petulant, despite shades of rage and insanity. As middle daughter Regan, Kelli O’Hara shows greater complexity, invoking sympathy even as she grows increasingly desperate. In a minor role, Michael Crane as Oswald is devious and a pleasure to watch. Other standouts were the brothers of Gloucester: Arian Moayed as Edgar is believable as a naive lord striving to be a noble son, while Seth Gilliam as Edmund is a charming villain, strutting in self-delight. The frenetic fool (Bill Irwin) — a role often omitted — breaks up the gravitas. But were he not there, would we miss him? Those who do enjoy his escapades are left wanting when he disappears in the second act.

It’s a sad showing from a company that’s frequently renowned for its Shakespeare. We recommend that you stay home to pick an insensible, endless fight with your own family — it will be cheaper, and probably everyone won’t die at the end.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.