‘King Lear’ at STC So Incredible It Gets Third Extension

If you haven’t secured your tickets for King Lear, currently on stage at STC’s Klein theatre, you had better hurry. Not only is this one of the best, and most understandable versions of Shakespeare’s Lear we’ve seen, but the rave reviews have caused it to be extended three (yes, THREE!) times. And while audiences can’t seem to get enough of the incomparable Patrick Page, this King Lear can’t get a further extension. You truly don’t want to miss it! 

King Lear at STC by DJ Corey Photography

It starts at the jetway sounds heard as the audience finds their seats. Yes, you are part of the action. Then at the heartwrenching dismissals, the deceit (from trusted family, no less!), and the tragedy of selfish actions — you’ll be personally invested.

Let it settle into you.  There is much to learn here.

Patrick Page in King Lear by DJ Corey Photography

Audiences that read King Lear in high school may remember that this story is, nominally, about false praise, but it’s also about *seeing* what is real — and it even goes so far as to remove a character’s eyes to prove the point.

King Lear, after years of ruling Britain, is ready to retire. He wants the adulation of the monarchy but is ready to pass the actual work on to his children, of which he has three daughters. In order to get their portion of the kingdom, they’ll need to flatter him in a love test. But while his two eldest happily and falsely praise him in his greedy game, Cordelia won’t play along.

Hurt that she appears to snub him as she tells her truth, King Lear banishes her, leaving him at the mercy of two ungrateful and power-hungry progeny who will — literally — leave him out in the cold (a snowstorm).

In brief, left with nothing, Lear is driven mad and finds, too late, that favor isn’t all that it appears.

King Lear at STC by DJ Corey Photography

As it so often does, this STC performance mirrors much happening in the modern day, with a contemporary setting and poignant stage direction to match its timely message. Added to all of that, Page portrays Lear so expertly in every stage of his life — from flippancy to fear, madcap to madness, and giddiness to absolute and impossible grief — that it is, for many, one of the best Lears we’ve ever seen.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s King Lear now runs until April 16, 2023 at the Klein Theatre in Washington D.C. Tickets can be purchased here.