King Lear is regarded as the pinnacle of theatre: difficult to climb but from there you can look down into the abyss. It is a royal drama which starts with the old king announcing a rhetorical competition between his three daughters, disinheriting the youngest, dividing his kingdom in two and giving up power. But instead of a peaceful retirement, an odyssey awaits Lear during which he will lose all the certainties he had before. His faithful follower the Duke of Gloucester shares a similar fate, falling for a trap set by his illegitimate son Edmund, renouncing his legitimate son Edgar and suffering his own downfall. King Lear is a play about war: between generations, between siblings, between armies. It is a play without mothers, where rich men turn into beggars and a blind man is able to see. It is an endgame in which an old order collapses and values are turned to ruins between which a storm rages that may be followed by nothing at all. Or something new.

Director Johan Simons also accepts the challenge of the new with this production under new conditions: "Normally" the stage represents a space of possibility: Figures can meet and touch each other there in a way that would not be possible in reality. At present, we are confronted with many rules in the theatre. Closeness and intimacy are currently not possible nor on stage - neither in social space.

This production is an attempt to make this new consciousness of the players and the audience visible. The characters are even more isolated than in Shakespeare, less involved in dialogues, their words have hardly any direction, time shifts. Do they still speak to someone or only to themselves? Lear and the Fool are an exception, as they have long since discovered a new world in which - what a utopia! - one may touch: that of language.

Schauspielhaus Bochum has commissioned a new translation of Shakespeare’s drama by the Austrian author and playwright Miroslava Svolikova.

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  • Duration: 3:00h, one break
  • Language: German with English surtitles
  • Tags: #theatre
  • CBplayer 1.2.4
00:00 / 00:00
Video-Trailer zu King Lear
(c) Siegersbusch Film
  • Premiere: 10.09.2020
A production of Schauspielhaus Bochum, as part of "Transfer Bochum/Zürich"
Press voices:

Pierre Bokma is virtuoos als King Lear bij Schauspielhaus Bochum
de Volkskrant, Herien Wensink

Johan Simons hungert Shakespeares Tragödie radikal auf ihren Glutkern herunter., Andreas Wilink

Johan Simons inszeniert am Schauspielhaus Bochum William Shakespeares "King Lear" und zeigt, dass es möglich ist, ein Kunstwerk zu schaffen, das sich an die herrschenden Hygieneregeln hält.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, Egbert Tholl

More press voices

Die Inszenierung ist hoch komplex, nichts ist Zufall, alle Ideen und Effekte dienen der gesteigerten Intensität einer Aufführung, die man sich sicher zwei- oder dreimal ansehen kann und immer neue Nuancen entdecken wird.
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Jürgen Boebers-Süßmann

Der „König Lear“ ist eins der schwärzesten Dramen von Shakespeare. An diesem Abend erlebt man, dass es zugleich ein unglaublich verspielter Text ist, ein bisschen surreal, ein bisschen Beckett, ein bisschen
Monty Python.
Westfälischer Anzeiger, Ralf Stiftel

Anna Drexler steht vom ersten Moment an unter Volldampf, in ihr hat sich eine gewaltige Wut gegen die betrügerischen Verhältnisse angestaut. Sie schreit, sie trampelt, sie dampft. [...] Ihr quirliges Spiel ist aufregend, überraschend, variantenreich - ein grandioses Ereignis.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Simon Strauß

Ein überaus beeindruckender, fesselnder Theaterabend mit einem exzellenten Ensemble.
theater:pur, Antje van Bürck