A Stunning King Lear at The National Theatre, London
Students from the 1ère and 2nde International Section had a great day out in London on Saturday 22nd March 2014 to see a production of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ at The National Theatre, the play that they are studying for the OIB exam. The performance was directed by Sam Mendes of ‘Skyfall’ fame (the last James Bond movie).
Thanks to Kate Colebrook from the Lycée Corneille ‘vie scolaire,’ who is a previous actress from The National Theatre, the group was lucky enough to be taken on a backstage tour before the performance. It was amazing to watch all the stage crew setting up the video, sound, lighting and the props, including the packets of blood for all the fights, assassinations and suicides in the play! “Don’t step in the blood,” cried one of the stagehands as he was mopping up the spills from the previous night’s show!
The thrilling performance itself was an eye-opener for our lycée students:
“Mendes succeeded in combining the cosmic scale of the play with the rather intimate detail of a disastrous parent/child relationship….It was modern, it was vivid, it was lively: really it was just like a film, except the action is happening in front of your face and you get the blood splatters.” (Herbot)
“Mendes chose to present King Lear in a non-traditional way; the play was set at the crossroads between a form of 20th century dictatorship and modern guerrilla warfare.” (Mark)
“Setting the play in a mid-20th century dystopian world, Mendes imagined a movie-like representation thanks to the theatre’s turning and elevating stage… an extraordinary and unforgettable experience.” (Victor)
“I never thought I would have the chance to see a modern version of a Shakespeare play with such accomplished actors.” (Emma)
And how did they find London?
“…a sizzling hot, typical English breakfast was waiting for us in Bill’s Café, in Covent Garden. After we finished devouring our delicious food, we walked through Covent Garden and then crossed over the River Thames, towards the National Theatre. As we strolled through London, we caught a glimpse of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye…” (Shannon)
“I had a great and enriching time in London. I was overwhelmed by it!” (Emma)