Marin Shakespeare Company - Hey nonny nonny and wild Shakespeare!--Pacific Sun

King Lear

Kent and GonerilI am thrilled to take this journey with my old friend Barry Kraft, recently "semi-retiring" from his official capacity as "Shakespearean Gadfly" after one score and then some years in Ashland. When Barry first spoke to me about this role several years ago, it was one of the few things left on his actor's "wish list." The ripeness is all, and Barry is ripe for Lear. The only living Shakespearean I know who has "been shot from the canon 38 times," he has performed in professional productions of each play attributed to Shakespeare in a career that started in John Carradine's touring production of Hamlet in 1956, included a stint at Forest Meadows in the late 1960's, and now returns him here to us once again. Every inch a king! We hope to do justice to this nadir of literature -- King Lear.

What the Critics Said:

“Kraft’s interpretation….cuts through the night like a knife. He plays the king’s decline into mental disarray with carefully crafted degrees of antic understatement, bewilderment and terror that grows increasingly affecting. Long before Lear recovers his wits to howl over Cordelia’s corpse, the intelligent arc of his portrayal exerts a magnetic pull….Abra Berman’s costumes are a visual feast of flowing, colorful robes with broad collars and shoulders, long sleeves, ornate waistbands and leather armor….Bruce Lackovic’s two-level set, with its Japanese paper-paneled walls, creates rich possibilities for stage pictures and varied entrances….Cat Thompson’s Regan almost embodies the drama of the daughters by herself….Mathew Henerson creates a striking, unconventionally angry-comic Fool….Jack Powell’s rich readings of Gloucester’s lines deliver much of the import of the tragedy that mirrors Lear’s….Michael Wiles is a strong, unaffectedly noble and affectingly mad Edgar….Kraft takes full advantage of their support to develop a Lear whose deeply personal dissolution is incisively etched, clearly thought through and inescapably human.”

Rob Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle

Company of King Lear Barry Kraft as King Lear


“With its solid core group of seasoned actors, crisp pacing by Currier and a text that has been pared down to well under the usual three-plus hours, MSC’s ‘King Lear’ offers a rewarding exposure to this complicated play.”

Charles Brousse,
Marin Independent Journal




"[W]ith Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran Barry Kraft as Lear, tragedy has its own appeal….Kraft becomes more powerful as Lear’s madness grows, and his final descent into old age is riveting. Lightening flashes created by Ellen Brooks and a thunderous sound design by Billie Cox make Lear’s raving on the moor resonate viscerally.”

Lee Brady, Pacific Sun

Gloucester"…that rare thing, a satisfying live production of the play, is taking shape – appropriately outdoors – at the Forest Meadows amphitheatre, Dominican University, where Marin Shakespeare brings The Bard’s dark vision, shot through with beams of light, to life in a pleasing collaborative effort….Barry Kraft is ‘every inch’ a formidable Lear, who with the mad scenes begins to articulate his actions and the very focus of his attention differently, giving his performance a quality of strange intimacy, as if his kingdom has reshaped itself within his troubled mind, its ills as wide-ranging as the storm….As the mad king’s counterpart, Matthew Henerson is a dynamo, a loud vaudevillian Fool who – confronted with chaos and insanity – becomes the astonished voice of common sense….Two enormous drumheads stand above the stage, rolling with the thunder and sometimes displaying the shadow of the drummer when the lightening flashes.”

Ken Bullock, Commuter Times

“Marin Shakespeare Company and director Robert Currier are unaccountably blessed with Kraft, who gives Marin audiences an enticing, angry and altogether wonderful Lear.”

Olga Azar, Marin Scope

Barry Kraft as King Lear


“’King Lear’ is rarely performed as it requires top flight Shakespearean actors, even in the small roles. I give kudos to the Marin Shakespeare Company for bravely choosing this production….The strength of the production lies in its cast, with some excellent performances….Barry Kraft gives a memorable performance….[his] portrayal of a man descending into madness is brilliant….LeAnne Rumbel gives a moving performance as Cordelia.”

Richard Connema, Talking Broadway

Marin Shakespeare Company

Marin Shakespeare
Box Office Telephone: 415/499-4488
890 Belle Ave. San Rafael, CA, 94901
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Summer Season 2015 - - Starting: June 26 2015
Performances Weekends July through September:  Friday, Saturday and Sundays at 8 pm and Sundays at 4 pm,
and Thursdays 8PM in September.
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