The Riggs Blog
Riggs Theatre 37 to Stage The King Lear Project May 10-15
Each spring, a group of Austen Riggs Center patients and members of the local community stage a Shakespearian production in the intimate Riggs Theatre 37, located at 37 Main Street in Stockbridge on the second floor. This year’s production, The King Lear Project, will be performed on May 10-15 at 7:30pm.
Part of the Activities Program, Riggs Theatre 37 provides an opportunity for patients to explore some of their strengths through involvement in twice-yearly productions (spring and fall). Directed by Kevin G. Coleman, the director of education at Shakespeare & Company, the immersive ten-week process includes reading scripts, selecting a play, working through rehearsals and staging several performances for the general public.
“We haven’t done a tragedy in almost 10 years,” says Coleman, adding, “It’s just a stunning play; as a writer he [Shakespeare] is doing a more sophisticated thing in the text – he’s writing fractured iambic pentameter and breaking a lot of the rules for how playwrights at that time were writing.”
The word “project” was added to the title of the play because, as Coleman explains, “We’ve really gone into it as an investigation; so much of our time has been spent delving into the play because of what we’re finding there.” As themes of madness, animal imagery and concepts of ‘seeing’ emerged, Coleman invited the actors to place what they found in their own or others’ lines related to those themes on a flowchart in the rehearsal space, which was soon filled up with example after example.
At the end of each rehearsal, Coleman has the actors do “reinforcements” or reflections about the rehearsal and he remarks, “Night after night after night, multiple people in the 15-member cast will reinforce the play: ‘This play is stunning;’ ‘I’m really excited to be doing this play;’ ‘This play is harrowing;’ and ‘This play scares the hell out of me.’” Which is to say, “They love the play and they are really proud of themselves for doing it.”
Come and partake of the fruits of their labor on Tuesday, May 10 through Sunday, May 15, nightly at 7:30pm.
Dates: May 10-15, 2016
Reservations:  298.5519 ext. 5606
Tickets: $10 students/seniors; $20 general public