American University of Beirut

King Lear

Shakespeare's King Lear was translated into the Lebanese “amieh" and performed at Al Madina Theater in December 2016, aligning the event with AUB's 150th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The Theater Initiative and The Faction, a London-based theater company with a contemporary approach to theater classics and a specialization in bare-bones adaptations of Shakespeare, collaborated on the production with support from the British Council and the 150th Anniversary Planning Committee.

Hailed as one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, King Lear's themes of family strife and tested loyalties resonate with a Lebanese audience. The choice to perform it in colloquial rather than Standard Arabic was to make palpable and viable the modern, Lebanese connection to Shakespeare. To note is the stripped-down choice of costumes and scenography that gave precedence to the performance.

The play was co-directed by Sahar Assaf and Rachel Valentine Smith of The Faction, and produced by Robert Myers. Veteran actor, Roger Assaf, joined the cast as Lear with Sahar Assaf alongside him as Cordelia. For more information, see program​​.​


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