A Host of Lears: Howard Barker’s Seven Lears, Elaine Feinstein’s Lear’s Daughters, and Sarah Kane’s Blasted

Chapter
Part of the Adaptation in Theatre and Performance book series (ATP)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the popularity of Shakespeare’s King Lear as an appropriated text and the different concerns and approaches by which contemporary dramatists have approached this work. One thing that all of the reinterpretations have in common is how they reconfigure family structures in the play. Elaine Feinstein and the Women’s Theatre Group’s Lear’s Daughters (1989) is a feminist appropriation that considers the consequences of fatherly neglect in King Lear as well as the absence of the Queen. That absence is also the central focus of Howard Barker’s (Seven Lears, Calder, London, 1990), while Sarah Kane’s Blasted (1995) revisits certain motifs such as blinding and specific scenes from King Lear–notably ‘the Dover scene’ as well as its incorporation of Jacobean tragedy–focusing on human suffering, damnation, and redemption–for contemporary audiences.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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