Do not show too much in the performance - only provoke imagination.
This is the essence of Lear, desiccated and condensed; sensed rather than watched and absorbed until it hasn’t just got under your skin, but right into your bone marrow. For the half hour that followed, I was static electricity, too knock-kneed to stand. It is a full-body detox; catharsis pure and simple and transcendent.
Inspiration – qualities of the Labyrinth. There is a belief that the word “labyrinth” is derived from the Greek word “labrys” – a double-sided axe in the shape of a butterfly. In Greek, butterfly means psyche, or soul. The history of the old king is the story of a tragic journey, through the labyrinth of his own subconscious, toward his own humanity. The guiding thread in this journey is sound and music. With these sounds we guide the spectator through the most difficult aspects of human loss.
Improvisation – aspects of Harmony. Through the process of our work, we were searching for a musical expression of the drama of rejected children and a denied father. The name Cordelia comes from the Latin word “Cordis” which means Heart. The youngest daughter of Lear is the only one who understands the harmonious language of the human heart. She also is the only one who is able to comprehend which chords, and what harmonies can express Love and Compassion.
Structure – Form. At no point does the performance mimic reality. It is an expression of poetry. In “Songs of Lear” each character has their own journey. The drama mirrors the oldest, archetypal tragedy – the death of the god Dionysus, the god who was torn to piece by the Titans. The death of King Lear is a repetition of this original tragedy. From this perspective, the structure shows the act of killing a god through dis-harmonious sounds.
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Songs of Lear is the highest ranked performance in Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012
Songs of Lear seems to have already passed into legend even though it's only a work in progress.
The performance is ceremonial, consecrated and sanctified, rich in the essence of the play. My five stars were laid bare on outstretched palms, offered in reverence.
It is not only the most deeply affecting show I have seen in Edinburgh this summer, it is also one of the most profoundly moving theatre productions I have ever experienced.
We begin with harmony, reflected in soft, rich music. But, as the king makes ill-advised choices, the world slips into discord and the music follows suit, in dark rhythms of clapping, chanting and urgent, piercing incantations.
For the half hour that followed, I was static electricity, too knock-kneed to stand. It is a full-body detox; catharsis pure and simple and transcendent.
I haven't words to describe my trip accross the rhythms, emotions and dreams, maybe today, two days later, I've seen people who could performer it because they draw lifes, lyrics and songs.
Song Of The Goat Theatre are an extraordinary company, and masters of their craft. Going beyond music that is a joy to listen to, this is a collection of highly evocative and emotionally stirring works and a magical piece of theatre.
Without a doubt, this is the best thing I’ve seen at the Fringe. ‘Songs of Lear’ is a dramatic retelling of ‘King Lear’ using song, and Song Of The Goat Theatre use this method to capture the essence of Shakespeare’s play perfectly.
The choral singing is powerful from the onset: ritualistic, growing into gut-wrenching torrents of emotion. Solos from Cordelia were breathtakingly stirring, climaxing in visceral wails of anguish and gushes of tears. Each song offers a unique feeling and intent.
It is a powerful, arresting approach to theatrical storytelling and it perfectly adumbrates the complexity of Lear. Yet the performance’s formidable power resides largely in the intensity of the music itself.
For the half hour that followed, I was static electricity, too knock-kneed to stand. It is a full-body detox; catharsis pure and simple and transcendent. In a Fringe chock-full of profanity, Songs of Lear is something sacred.
Their precision binds all of this into an impressive piece that lingers after the performers have bowed (to standing ovations) and the sweltering space has cleared, so that Songs of Lear continue to reverberate within you.
There was one moment when goosebumps overwhelmed me, with two of the ensemble sitting on chairs and lamenting, their voices reaching dizzying heights and sending shiver after shiver down my spine. This wasn’t just song, this was untapped raw emotion.
This is a very special piece of theatre that carried me away emotionally with the beauty of its sound. I can't really do it justice – just go see it, hear it, feel it.
Care is taken with each element: storytelling, music, words and the composition of the stage. The structure of the piece is used to free the audience to absorb rather than scrutinise without losing any of the transcendental ferocity, power or vulnerability in the source material.
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