This week in Boston, Shakespeare's Globe, the London-based theater company, is performing "King Lear" in a production presented by ArtsEmerson. It's the great tragedy about family jealousies, loyalty, betrayal and a warrior king's sad decline at the end of his life.
It's a stripped-down traveling production with just eight actors performing all the roles.
"Our approach to King Lear is simply the story of a family," says Joseph Marcell, who leads the cast in the role of Lear. "A man with the three daughters who decides to share his ill-gotten gains expects a favorable response from his daughters, in the sense that they will flatter him. One doesn't, and there begins our troubles."
Those troubles lead to betrayal and to Lear's tragic end — a fallen monarch alone in the howling storm, carrying the body of the one his daughters.
Marcell is an experienced Shakespearian actor, but he's perhaps best-known to American audiences as "Geoffrey," the snarky butler in the '90s TV sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
- "If you saw 'Hamlet' by Shakespeare’s Globe at ArtsEmerson two years ago, it won’t surprise you to hear that in 'King Lear,' the acting is broad, the diction is superb, the entertainment values high, and the tragic grandeur of the story … pretty much missing."
- "You may recognize the star of the new production of Shakespeare’s 'King Lear' at the Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage. The mad monarch is played by Joseph Marcell, who’s best known as Geoffrey the butler on TV’s 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.'"
This segment aired on October 21, 2014.