King Lear: Who is it who can tell me who I am?

I was so proud to be at this production of King Lear, who is it Who can tell me who I am? This was a super badass crew of women actresses who owned that stage. My only regret was not seeing it earlier in his early production dates due to my schedule. 

I choose this production as many don’t know I am an avid William Shakespeare fan and I have always loved reading the plays as a teenager. I was in AP and international  Baccalaureate literature and fell in love with Shakespeare because I had an amazing teacher Mr. Irvin Scott who broke it down for me so that we could learn to hear past the early modern English used that traps so many people from truly enjoying the plays written. Let me say that having an amazing teacher will always encourage even the toughest of students to want to learn more so thank you Mr. Scott for that experience. 

King Lear is really about tragedy. It’s a about a king who gives his land and fortune to 2 out of their 3 daughters after they declare their love for them. The last daughter doesn’t do a good enough job declaring her love for her father so be banishes her. It wasn’t that the youngest didn’t love him she did she just wasn’t good at expressing that love. That’s a word right there? Anyway, when the daughters that King Lear gave all he had wouldn’t allow them to their houses he gets mad and roams around during the storm.  The daughters return to find him and all of them die. There is a lot of life lessons in between all this such as forgiveness during misunderstanding. Had King Lear had only not assumed the youngest really did love him they could have been more unified. Had King Lear had put his pride aside and listened a lot of the madness he experienced might not have happened. So that’s your quick catch up of King Lear. How did the ladies pull this off?

One they kept the early English language which I found was refreshing. I was hoping that in their need or desire to modernize it that they kept it true to the language and they did. I know there were some in the audience who were lost. I watched their faces when certain things were said. I will say I found it easy to break down not just because of the training I had in my earlier years but because when early English is spoken you must find a way to listen a little harder. 

Speaking with following I found that I had to dip myself a little harder as the ladies interchanged their roles making it difficult at times to know who who was. That might have lasted for about the first few moments. Once I had it down packed who was who, them ladies performed. Not just in solidarity for women they really brought in intense emotion for their actions. No one woman was over another in their acting skills, but I have to say King Lear, played by Suzanna Szadkowski was so powerful that I wanted to give her a huge hug. To employ that much raw emotion every performance had to be a lot. I mean she gave of herself to portray King Lear is all his nastiness towards his daughters etc. I liked how they went back and forth in the types of responses that would have happened had King Lear been here. 

The artistic director, Keith Baker, must be applauded. The whole production team needs a standing ovation. That whole production a complete success is due to its collaboration and cohesiveness that couldn’t be denied. I know and I don’t know if I have that face that says come and discuss but a lot of the patrons felt compelled to ask me how I felt. Some expressing confusion and I was happily happy to fill in the missing parts. The show was a great solid show of showing this tragedy and spin on love and life. 

A few words that came to mind as I watched it was powerful, eclectic, strong, and beautiful as these strong women came together to play parts that women wouldn’t have been able to openly play back in that time and they did it well. They didn’t just do it great for women they did it great because they were amazing actors. The scene that stands out was when King Lear disrobed, and I was like wait what’s happening? The folks near me was uncomfortable. Plays should challenge what you know or what you see. 

To the cast you did a phenomenal job! To the director, Eric Tucker you did a great job bringing this to life. To the whole team you are amazing and this production along with the class that is Bristol Riverside Theatre remained untouched as this production was one to not have missed.

Thank you Bristol Riverside Theatre, Carrie Gorn and Aversa PR for having me. Also thank you to Theatre Philadelphia for having me end Philly Theatre Week!! I enjoyed myself and will continue my theatre circuit run! Can’t wait to see Bristol Riverside for Cabaret: The Hit Musical in March!!

Bristol Riverside Theatre: Next To Normal

Explosive, twisted, heart wrenching, and purely dipped in the essence of human heart! Those are just a few words to describe my thoughts watching Next to Normal. Book and lyrics are by Brian Yorkey, and is directed by Keith Baker. Music is by Tom Kitt!

This play follows a family who is dealing with death and mental illness as it has brought a wave of change that can’t be denied. Grief changes you in many ways. God forbid the death of a baby. This baby is such a catalyst in how the whole family interacts, intertwines with one another, and lacks ability to see each other. I sat in the beginning just bopping around this musical until the twist came and grabbed me by my chest. By the end I sat there with tissues in my hand and the worse ugly cry!! It was that emotionally charged.

The crazy part and I use that term loosely is that she is me and she is you. No one couldn’t feel the pain or have experienced some level of sadness that could or had you at this point of despair. I had to call my family and check in on them. I’ve dealt with my own anxiety and if you have in some portions or major this will speak to your own healing. This can be triggering to anyone who has lost a child. It’s a dance of healing and anyone who has had to heal knows it’s not straight forward. It comes in waves. It’s debilitating at times. You will experience all of these emotions. I sat there taking to a woman who just couldn’t stop crying. I don’t know her story I never asked. We sat there seemingly from two different worlds comforting each other!

This is a must see! This one made me grateful, showed the mirror to my own healing, and challenged to see others around me in a different light. We don’t know what someone is dealing with. We have no idea of their struggles and inner demons. We got to find a way to handle ourselves and others around us with better care!

Can we talk about the fact that this is a musical and they are sanging! No I spelled that right. They were sanging meaning they took singing and upped it! I come from a singing family and been around music and theatre most of my life and the actors and actresses sang!! I appreciated the music so much more! The band is phenomenal. I love live music and Next to Normal wraps all of it well!!

Next to Normal will be showing until November 24, 2019!! That’s right you have time! This was a packed house performance! Bristol Riverside Theatre if you have never attended a show is a state of arts theatre nestled in Bristol. They have amazing staff to service you. I love coming and they have some amazing snacks if you need a snack or drink during the performances!