Lear 1864: Trail of Tears

Lear 1864: Trail of Tears

Kaiden has always found great inspiration in the rich works of William Shakespeare and this year was fortunate enough to offer his skills to Full Tilt Theatre Company’s latest production, an exciting re-examination of King Lear, entitled Lear 1864: Trail Of Tears. The production opened in February of this year performing 3 nights at Bath Spa University Theatre and will tour the UK this summer (dates and venues still to be announced). The piece was directed by Full Tilt Deputy Artistic Director Dr. Terri Power, a specialist in the performance of Shakespeare who previously directed and toured a cross-gendered cast production of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew in 2009 to critical acclaim.

Lear 1864: Trail Of Tears takes King Lear to the American Civil War where Lear is transformed from an ancient British King into a newly retired American General set amidst the treacherous background of a bloody civil war. The inspiration for this concept came from the parallels in the themes of dispossession and loss, chaos and spiritual breakdown seen in both King Lear and Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, a novel by author Dee Brown regarding the Native American experience in the forming of the United States. This production fuses Native American beliefs and practices, historical references to the American Civil War and Shakespeare’s original language to create a magnificent and emotionally harrowing experience for its audiences.

In Native American culture it is believed that time is not linear but that the past, present and future all exist at the same moment. This idea lead to the splitting of the Lear character between two actors: The first (portrayed by Richard W. Gittins) is the harsh and tempered tyrant General while the other (portrayed by Kaiden DuBois) is the aged and tormented man who has lost everything, including his mind. Time is fluid throughout the production and during the first act Mad Lear (Kaiden DuBois) is forced to watch his former self (Richard W. Gittins) as he commits the atrocious acts that lead to his downfall, incapable of changing his destiny. The second act sees Mad Lear take the lead as he is beaten down, descending into madness and helpless senility.

The tour begins this July so you still have a chance to see this spectacular show. Tickets on sale soon, announcements to follow.