Whispers from the Wings

The King is dead

December 19, 2012

ben in stratfordThe weight of this sad time we must obey. The King Lear company finally made it to Stratford for a week that was both a homecoming and a farewell.

It's been a long journey, over the course of which we've seen some amazing things and met some brilliant people. We're sad that it's ending, but we're immensely proud of the project and what we hope it has achieved.

We've performed in nine different cities across the UK and eastern United States, we've played an eclectic assortment of theatres, school halls, and performance spaces, we've run workshops with hundreds of our audience members, and I've been slapped in the face by seventy-six different young people.

(The award for the hardest slap, by the way, goes to Angelica in New York, who at our first performance on Park Avenue belted me so spiritedly that she almost knocked me out, leaving me dazed and struggling to remember my lines for the rest of the scene. I wouldn't be surprised if the sharp echo of that thwack were still reverberating around the Armoury even now.)

In the final lines of Shakespeare's play, Edgar reflects that, 'we that are young / Will never see so much, nor live so long'. In the context of the play, it's an instructive reflection – but ironically, it's almost the opposite of what I think we're trying to acknowledge with YPS.

The young people of today will, over the course of their lives, no doubt see things the like of which we that are old (or, at least, getting older) could never imagine. All the more reason, then, to try to pass on what experience we do have as early as possible. To encourage them to build on the work we've done by making their own discoveries.

Having been a part of this sort of effort is about as rewarding a job I've ever had as an actor. And long may it reign, I say. The King is dead. Long live YPS.

Ben in Stratford

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet

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