Special to the Times-Tribune
On Thursday, Feb. 21, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) Theatre department opened up its spring production of “King Lear” in the Kohn Theater in the Grace Crum Rollins Center on the UC campus. The play had developed so much excitement and anticipation for the opening night that tickets sold out a week in advance. As expected, the theatre department gave an outstanding rendition of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
“When I found out that UC was going to be performing “King Lear,” I was so excited,” said student Rhyana Barker (Lily). “I thought the performance was great and it kept me on the edge of my seat all night.”
This distinguished play, written by William Shakespeare, tells the story of corruption of great greed and power, all leading to a very theatrical and dramatic ending. It begins with King Lear, played by Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) Director, Dean Whitaker, as an aging yet very remarkable King in his upper 80’s, around 900 AD in Great Britain. He decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, two of which are married and the youngest having two suitors. King Lear wants his daughters to pledge their love for him publicly and he will, in return, reward them with their share of the inheritance.
Unfortunately, the one honest daughter of King Lear’s, Cordelia, played by Jillian Carpenter (Williamsburg), is disowned, due to the misinterpretation of her honesty and innocence for not replying to his call. This event leaves King Lear with his other two daughters, Goneril, played by Rachel Doyle (Louisville), and Regan, played by Kayli Gizel (Hazard), both of which are highly dishonest and deceiving in their loving nature. The tragedy continues as Lear progresses in a downward spiral, losing not only his position, but his mind and health as well. In the end, Lear was given one last opportunity to ask forgiveness of his youngest daughter who is pure at heart. Many characters lost their lives, which creates a tragic closing for the audience.
The majority of the UC students agreed that their favorite character was The Fool, played by Adrienne Liford. “I loved the Fool,” said Kayli Gizel. “Adrienne brought so much character to her role and it was so much fun.”
“This was one of the best plays I have seen in a long time,” said student, Hannah Johnson (Berea). “King Lear’s character was interesting to watch.”
For more information on University of the Cumberlands Theatre, you can visit the website at http://www.ucumberlands.edu/academics/theatre. The play will continue Thursday through Saturday with show times at 7:30 p.m. nightly.