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NEARLY LEAR OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: January 7, 2011
Synopsis: What if the great story of King Lear was told by his closest companion? In this one-woman tour de force, actress Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool--and every other character--to tell a very personal and poignant story that borrows from the words of "that guy William Shakespeare." Susanna braves the most savage storm in English literature with breathtaking hilarity and heartache, honoring the beautiful language of Lear while taking a bit of poetic license. Co-created by Susanna and Edith Tankus with initial development in association with Kneehigh Theatre (Brief Encounter; Rapunzel, New Vic 2008), Nearly Lear upends expectations of what a Shakespeare play should be.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"Squeezing one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies into a tight 90 minutes is no simple feat. Equally challenging is transforming said work, which also happens to be one of his more death-ridden and violent, into a show suitable for youngsters. "
"You never forget your first brush with Shakespeare, so in undertaking to introduce young audiences to the tragedy of King Lear, solo performer Susan Hamnett is taking on a huge responsibility by creating Nearly Lear, now at the New Victory Theater. "
"No need to bother with that revival of "King Lear" arriving in April at BAM. Why sit through the entirety of Shakespeare's classic when you can get pretty much the same story in less than 75 minutes? As the title of Susanna Hamnett's show, being presented by the New Victory Theater, suggests, it's "Nearly Lear.""
"Lear without a tear? In Nearly Lear, actor-author Susanna Hamnett up-ends Shakespeare's masterpiece by playing the Fool, and a cadre of other characters. The new solo adaptation was co-created by Hamnett and Edith Tankus, and directed by Tankus."
"In Susanna Hamnett's "Nearly Lear," there isn't nearly enough Lear. In this one-woman show, which Hamnett has co-written and performs, the writer-actor has set herself the almost Herculean task of presenting Shakespeare's "King Lear" for a young audience."
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