The return of the king: Yet another production of ‘King Lear’

The king and I: David Fuller as King Lear and Amy Crossman as Cordelia in Theater 2020’s version of “King Lear.”
Photo by Judith Jarosz

The Year of Lear continues!

Theater 2020 will give three free performances of “King Lear” at Brooklyn Bridge Park June 13–15 — the third production of the Shakespearian tragedy in the borough this year.

But the Brooklyn Heights troupe says it is not intimidated by the long shadows cast by earlier versions from theater heavyweights the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Theater for a New Audience.

“Theaters are like thoroughbreds, you run your own race,” said Judith Jarosz, co-producing art director at Theater 2020, which has just completed an indoor run of the play, taking its final bow on June 8.

The fresh-air performances at Brooklyn Bridge Park have become something of a tradition for the four-year-old company. Last year, it drew crowds to the waterfront for an al fresco rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and in 2012, it staged “A Comedy of Errors” with a cast made partially of puppets.

Jarosz said performing plays outside presents unique challenges. When the company put on “Romeo and Juliet,” a party boat steamed by in the middle of the climactic poison scene. And sometimes it rains.

“Last year there was a deluge,” Jarosz said. “Mother Nature gets to play her card, but we’re asking her to be nice this year.”

The audience of Theater 2020’s production can expect a lean, mean “King Lear.” The full play can last for three or four hours, but this rendition clocks in at just over two hours. And anyone worried that the dour tragedy might put a damper on a balmy summer evening can rest easy, Jarosz said.

“We’ve got humor in it, baby!” she said. “We find humor even in Shakespeare’s tragedies. It’s definitely there.”

Theater2020’s “King Lear” at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1 (Old Fulton Street at Furman Street in Dumbo, www.brooklynbridgepark.org). June 13–15 at 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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