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Tragedy meets hilarity and King Lear gets a happy ending in a madcap musical romp à la Mel Brooks and Monty Python. Open Fist Theatre Company revives its smash hit production of deLEARious, an award-winning play-within-a-play by Second City’s Ron West and composer Phil Swann.
There’s a new king in town. Queen Elizabeth is dead — all hail King James! In deLEARious, Ron and Phil are writing about King James I and Shakespeare — who in turn are writing about the legendary King Lear. Phil gets sick of Ron’s laziness and womanizing King James gets sick of Shakespeare and demotes him to working on the Bible and King Lear gets sick of everyone and goes crazy. Great songs, a clever story and lots of laughs!
A cast of 17 actors play all the characters in Lear, plus the roles of Shakespeare, King James, Sir Francis Bacon (who some believe authored Shakespeare’s plays), Reverend Lancelot Andrewes (who oversaw the translation of the King James Bible), Richard Burbage (who, in 1606, originated the title role in Lear), co-authors West and Swann, and numerous courtiers, scholars and modern day auditioning actors.
The King James version of the Bible — the translation of the Christian Bible into English for the Church of England — was printed in 1611. Some people believe that Psalm 46 may have been translated by Shakespeare.
“Phil and I had read that conspiracy theorists believe Shakespeare may have contributed to the King James Bible,” says West. “Lear and the King James Bible came out around the same time, so it was fun to combine the two works in the same play.”
Open Fist first produced deLEARious in 2008. The production received two Backstage Garland Awards, for “Best Adaptation” and “Best Score,” and three Ovation nominations, including “Best Book, Music and Lyrics,” “Best Small Musical” and the “Franklin R. Levy Memorial Award for Musical in an Intimate Theater.”
“We decided to revive this remarkably clever production because it’s so in tune with our time: a comedic examination of a powerful yet narcissistic King who will only believe what he wants to hear,” explains Open Fist artistic director Martha Demson. “In addition, more than just being a musical treatment of Lear with all its machinations and betrayals, deLEARious seeks to examine the very nature of collaboration, a subject dear to the heart of Open Fist and embedded in our mission. King James wants to collaborate with Shakespeare on King Lear he wants Shakespeare to collaborate with the Bible translators and the present day composers Ron and Phil wrestle over the creation of the musical as well as Ron's womanizing. The three parallel stories are told with breath-taking swiftness. Hilarity ensues, but so do countless moments of cringe-worthy recognition — of ourselves, of our theatrical community and of our country.”
The Open Fist Theatre Company is a collective, self-producing artistic enterprise with all facets of its operation run by its artist members. The company’s name combines the notion that an open spirit, embracing all people and all ideas, is essential, with the idea that determination and even force, signified by a fist, is necessary if the theater is to remain a vital voice for social change and awareness.
deLEARious runs Nov. 10 through Dec. 16 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. (dark Nov. 24). Preview performances take place Nov. 3, Nov. 4, and Nov. 5 on the same schedule, with one additional preview on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 for all performances, except previews which are Pay-What-You-Want.
Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (323) 882-6912 or go to www.openfist.org.
Presenter / Producer: Open Fist Theatre Company
Theater > Theatrical Comedy
Event Phone: 323-882-6912
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90039
LA - Hollywood / Westside
Performance Dates: 11/3/2017 - 12/16/2017
Thurs - Sat. 8:00 pm Sun. 3:00 pm
All performances $30 previews Pay-What-You-Can
Web Link for ticketing
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