Nearly Lear

A mischievous retelling of Shakespeare’s great play

What if the great and tragic story of King Lear were to be told by the King’s closest companion? In this one-woman tour-de-force, actress Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool (who, in good Shakespearean tradition is actually Noreen disguised as a boy)—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. Created with Edith Tankus—who has been hailed as one of Canada’s finest female clowns—and with initial development in association with Emma Rice and Mike Shepherd of internationally-acclaimed Kneehigh Theatre, this dynamic one-woman show is an exuberant and unexpected blend of tragedy and humor.

Nearly Lear is an emotional roller-coaster ride that has entranced both lovers of Shakespeare as well as newcomers to the Bard, from Vancouver Island to Aberdeen and from Broadway to the Sydney Opera House. Upending expectations of what a Shakespeare play should be, Nearly Lear uses exuberant storytelling, music and film, as well as Shakespeare’s rich poetic text to take its audience firmly into the heart of this great story. Nearly Lear won the 2012 International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) Victor Award for Outstanding Production.

Welcome to a Lear that is both profoundly accessible and fun, while serving the great spirit, language and emotional core of the play.

“More wit, mischief and sheer playfulness than you can legally pack into 80 minutes of live theatre!” —Aberdeen Press and Journal

“An energetic, virtuosic performer with a touch of the endearing goofball.” —Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

Artist Links

Nearly Lear website

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