My wife and I went last night to see the Synetic Theater production of “King Lear” at the Lansburgh Theater in downtown DC. If you are within striking distance of DC over the next couple of weeks (it closes April 24), and have even the slightest interest in theater, I can’t say enough about how spectacular a production this is. Synetic Theater is a small (but growing) company originally from Georgia — the Georgia in the Caucasus, not the Georgia down South — and they have, over the years, put on a series of “wordless Shakespeare” productions, of which this is the latest. It’s very hard to describe them, because they’re not really like anything else (that I’ve ever seen, anyway) — a mix of dance and mime and vaudeville and commedia dell arte and circus and opera and who knows what else — that in lesser hands could probably be awful, but which is elevated to real art here. They perform Lear as a kind of farce, and it’s terribly moving (as any good Lear should be).
The theater was only about 2/3 full last night, and I thought that was a real shame – to see great art being made before your eyes is a real privilege, and with all the junk out there these days, you don’t get to experience it all that frequently, and I’m always hopeful that there’s an audience for it.