Shakespeare & Company, Artistic Director Tony Simotes and the Peck School of the Arts are pleased to announce that Dennis Krausnick, Shakespeare & Company Director of Training and star of this summer's acclaimed main stage production of The Tragedy of King Lear, will reprise the role of the aging monarch in a production at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). This production of The Tragedy of King Lear will also be directed by Rebecca Holderness, a professor at the Peck School, and is part of the university's "Year of the Arts" celebration, which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Peck School of the Arts.
The Tragedy of King Lear will be presented November 14-18 at the UWM Mainstage Theatre. The performances will be at 7:30pm Wednesday through Saturday, with a final performance Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets are available from the Peck School of the Arts box office, (414) 229-4308 or arts.uwm.edu/tickets. Tickets are $17 for adults; $12 for seniors, UWM faculty, staff and alumni; $10 for Peck School faculty, staff and other university students; $5 for ages 13-18 and Peck School students; free for under 12 and Peck School Theatre majors.
Shakespeare's profound tale of regret, and the crowning masterpiece of the world's greatest dramatist, details Lear's regression into sickness and strife over his biggest mistake - unwittingly severing the unity within his family. The UWM production, like the production at Shakespeare & Company this past summer, sets this precisely crafted and heartbreaking tale in 1906 Russia, as the last monarchy crumbled, the country verged on revolution and chaos moved to war.
"This production uses its Russian Czarist elements to evoke a time vulnerable to revolution and invasion," says director Rebecca Holderness. "The divide in imperialist Russia between the cloistered Czar, with rich and fertile land, and the multitude of poor provides the production with a modern and yet ancient environment to set the play in motion, helping us see this very personal and intimate story in wider terms.
"Remarkable in both productions is a theme of generational conflict," continues Holderness. "Both productions also feature the work of master artists and young ones, working side by side. So the production brings the story of Lear's nation and the responsibility of leadership to the front." In January 2013, Holderness will direct a production of Kafka in Washington D.C. followed by a production of Ruined in March in Raleigh, N.C.
Krausnick has an extensive history with the play, which began in 1997 when he directed Olympia Dukakis in The Lear Project at Shakespeare & Company with his wife, Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, as The Fool. This year, after playing Lear at several venues across the United States, Krausnick took on the title role for the first time on Shakespeare & Company's main stage, the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Krausnick will be in Milwaukee for a month-long residency to rehearse and ultimately reprise the role of Lear. He will be joined on stage by Associate Professor Bill Watson, who appeared in Shakespeare & Company's production of Lear as Cornwall and will play Gloucester in the UWM production. Professor James Tasse, a participant in last winter's Month-long Intensive workshop at Shakespeare & Company, will play Kent. UWM students will portray the other roles, providing a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to work alongside professional actors.
Costumes designed by Govane Lohbauer, Shakespeare & Company's Costume Director, will be used for the production. This semester, Lohbauer has worked with UWM students in the costume production curriculum to enhance their experience. Associate Professor Christopher Guse will work on scene and audio production and composer Peter Bayne will score the production.