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The work originates in Singaporean theater director Ong Keng Sen's 1997 adaptation of "King Lear".Though inspired by "Lear Dreaming," and drawing upon the Lear characterization that Ong and Naohiko Umewaka created for that show, the performance unveiled at Bustan was a new work directed by Umewaka himself.While Ong's work has Umewaka's Lear as the sole actor, with all other characters played by musicians, he is here complemented by three young actors representing various figures from Lear's story – Cordelia, the loyal Kent/jester (and Edmund), the funeral orator/disloyal daughters Goneril, or Regan.In the latter case, Umewaka introduced audience members to a beautiful, if unfamiliar, form that might provoke one or two to probe more deeply into what it is and how it works.It was left to these actors to distill plot elements – the fall of Cordelia, say – from which Lear is more or less absent. Other characters were less well grounded, however, leaving the actor to base her characterization on melodramatic exaggeration unbalanced by context or counterpoint.
Reflecting on the Nile’s surrealists
Musical bomb, shrapnel of laughter
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