Arts & Events

New: Around & About--Theater: James Keller's 'Queen Lear' in Temescal Next Weekend

Saturday November 12, 2016 - 10:55:00 AM

Orson Welles, among others, declared that Shakespeare's tragic masterpiece wouldn't have existed if there had been a Queen Lear ...

Playwright James Keller--a veteran of many productions at the Magic Theatre in the 80s--has continued his prolific career writing plays about the lives of older people, staging them with his troupe Poor Players.

Keller's latest in that vein is in a way like an improvised take off Shakespeare as a contemporary chamber piece, a character study of an aging headstrong woman suffering through a Lear-like loss of autonomy when her daughters confront her with their belief she has dementia and a plan to warehouse her in a care facility, bringing her ire down on them.  

I saw a staging at the Unitarian Fellowship on Cedar Street of an earlier draft of 'Queen Lear' some months ago and found it to be at once a finely etched study of a family, all female, confronting (or sidestepping) the questions of age, judgment and freedom, and an intimate spectacle overflowing with both causticly witty dialogue and often raw emotion. 

The excellent script is served up with brilliance and style by a trio of actors very familiar with Keller's work that he's handpicked: Elinor Bell, Beth Chastain, Susannah Wood. 

This coming weekend, Friday November 18 at 8 and Saturday the 19th at 2 and 8, Temescal Arts Center, 511-48th Street, between Telegraph and Shattuck, Oakland. Tickets: $20 through