The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival celebrated their 23rd summer season with a wonderful production of King Lear.The last time it was performed in Southmoreland Park by the Festival was 15 years ago. The production this year had an all-star cast including John Rensenhouse in the title role of King Lear. It was directed by Sidonie Garrett who did a remarkable job of bringing a huge cast together in one spectacular production.
This Shakespeare tragedy is widely regarded as one of his finest artistic achievements. King Lear continues to be one of the most memorable characters in the history of literature because of his characteristics as a tragic character and the play's probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.
The annual ESU Group Night to see King Lear was scheduled for Wednesday, July 1, 2015. But ominous clouds and declining weather changed the evening quickly. A fast moving rainstorm became so intense in the hour before the start of the play, a decision to cancel the play was a wise decision.
Our ESU Group returned for the final performance of King Lear on Sunday, July 5. We were greeted with warm temperatures to start and as the evening progressed, it cooled down and a pleasant breeze made for a relaxing evening to see King Lear at Southmoreland Park.
Click here to see the Photo Gallery of our ESU Group Night
Our group's first stop was the "Show Talk" presented by Dr. Felicia Londré. She presented King Lear not only from a historical perspective but gave the audience, most of whom were from the baby boomer generation, a top 10 list of why King Lear is pertinent to baby boomers today. It was a thought-provoking and real-world tie-in with the many themes of King Lear. Dr. Londré's talks at the Park before the Shakespeare plays are always educational, entertaining and well-worth the 30 minute prelude to the start of the play.
Our group also gave a birthday salute to a long-time ESU Friend, Carolyn Connor with a birthday cake. Carolyn signed up as a new ESU member that evening and we were all delighted to welcome Carolyn to the ESU once again. Happy Birthday, Carolyn!
Congratulations to Sidonie Garrett, John Rensenhouse and the all-star cast and crew of King Lear on the conclusion of a magnificent 23rd season of Shakespeare in the Park produced by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Next year, the ESU will be part of a big team commemorating what promises to be Shakespeare's Legacy year when the whole world will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
Many programs are planned in Kansas City next year that will re-introduce teachers, students and the general public to the man who grew up in the English provinces and went on to become the world's most influential writer of the English language.
Click this link to read about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming to Kansas City next year as part of Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary Legacy Celebration.