Theater review: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park's 'King Lear' is powerful tragedy

A tragedy that could have had a happy ending, but didn't, engages emotions powerfully in “King Lear,” by Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park.
Published: September 25, 2013
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A tragedy that could have had a happy ending, but didn't, engages emotions powerfully in “King Lear,” by Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park.

Hal Kohlman as the title character was physically and vocally commanding at the outset, which made his disintegration during the rest of the play all the more startling.

When exiling his loyal daughter Cordelia, the richly costumed king seemed proud of setting the wheels of his own undoing in motion.

From this initial high point, Kohlman did a fine job of showing us the stages of his slow-motion breakdown, beginning with suffering old age and small slights, but soon escalating to anger, outrage and near total madness.

David Fletcher Hall was low-key but solid as the Earl of Kent, who, after speaking up for and being exiled along with Cordelia, stays, in disguise, to try to look after the king — a thankless task which he handled well.

Joining him in this effort, and giving the play a strong comic dimension, by talking a kind of nonsense to the king, was the court Fool, played with just the right broad, physically humorous flourish, by Shaun Kilburn.

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