top of page

King Lear

2008, Italy
Directed by: Daniele Salvo
Produced by: Politeama/Globe Theater

Genre: Drama
Languages: En

con Ugo Pagliai
video scenography by Giandomenico Musu (INDYCA)


Written at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the historical work tells the sad story of an ancient British monarch driven to madness by the distorted behavior of the daughters to whom he had entrusted his kingdom. Looking to the past, the English playwright portrayed his present as it was in a deep crisis. But he also anticipated the future. Because the theme at the center of the King Lear seems very topical: the incomprehension and misunderstanding between fathers and sons – on a private level - the difficulty and even the paralysis of generational turnover – on a public level. The latter is anything but negligible indicator of the moments of stasis, of moral degeneration, of political paralysis of a society.

They are all fathers and sons the main characters of the drama. First of all, the protagonist, the authoritarian and age-weary king, with the fault of being “grown old before becoming wise”, has a penetrating gaze, the expressiveness and thundering voice of Ugo Pagliai, an actor of consummate experience. His Lear balances the excesses of the character: he is an elderly parent, he is a weakened ruler, he is delirious against natural agents, supine with his face turned to an inclement sky in the well-known scene of the desolate land beaten by the hurricane (the actor is made clearly visible by a plane inclined towards the public). But the king himself also knows how to maintain a subtle vein of levity when joking with his alter ego, the inseparable fool (the talented Francesco Colella). These scherzando always tells the truth and defines his master well by stating: “you would have been a great fool” (a theme dear to Shakespeare that of the boundary between reason and madness).

In the shadow of the protagonist there are then the children. Some positive by virtue of their fidelity and loyalty to their fathers (Cordelia, daughter of Lear, Federica Bern; Edgar, son of Gloucester, Gianluigi Fogacci) but basically powerless in the face of evil. Others are negative, such as Lear's ungrateful daughters Goneril (the persuasive Melania Giglio) and Reagan, unprepared to handle a power always coveted but divided by greed and selfishness, unable to replace the parent with dignity, devoid of filial piety. To them Lear says "I gave you everything" and they answer "And it was time you gave it to us". Another disrespectful son, determined but dishonest in his desire for redemption and freedom from his own social destiny, is the bold Edmond, illegitimate son of Gloucester, animated by the verve of Giacinto Palmerini.

bottom of page