Charlie Ryall will be playing Lear’s youngest and truest daughter Cordelia, whilst her father, the revered stage and screen actor who played Elphias Doge in the Harry Potter series, takes up one of the most coveted roles in the Shakespeare cannon in the intimate Marylebone venue.
Darker Purpose Theatre has been founded to produce King Lear, a project which has emerged through the collaboration of David Ryall and Lewis Reynolds. The company intends to focus on texts which are especially conducive to fostering complicity between audience and performers. They aim to foster collaboration between experienced professionals and creators at the start of their career, passing on traditions and techniques whilst allowing them to evolve with the changing world, and to give younger creators the benefit of working with seasoned practitioners.
This staging comes as preparations are made across the UK for the 450th celebrations of Shakespeare’s birth on 23rd April, with Shakespeare Week in schools, museums, cinemas and libraries from 17th to 23rd March leading up to events including a weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon on 26th and 27th April and a special Summer 2014 season from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
David Ryall was a member of Laurence Olivier’s company with the National Theatre at the Old Vic from 1965 to ’73 where he performed in plays including Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Tyger. Other work at the National Theatre includes Guys and Dolls, The Beggar’s Opera, Coriolanus and Animal Farm (Clarence Derwent Award, 1985). Other notable appearances include Feste in Peter Hall’s Twelfth Night (1994 and 2011), Polonius in Hamlet (nominated for the Helen Hayes Award in the USA, 1997). His television and film career includes The Knowledge, The Singing Detective, Shelley, Inspector Morse, State of Play, Empire of the Sun, Truly, Madly, Deeply and Two Men Went to War. Ryall has appeared in the BBC1 sitcom Outnumbered from 2007 to 2011, in which he played Frank (Granddad). He also appeared as Elphias Doge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
He said “”Lewis’s approach to the verse most encouragingly reminds me of Peter Hall’s. We’re working hard to make it clear, and I think building something quite beautiful. It’s wonderful – and rather daunting – to be playing opposite Charlie as Cordelia. I guess it’s important to try to pass things on for the next generation, as undoubtedly has Hall.”
Lewis Reynolds originally trained as an actor at the National Youth Theatre and Cambridge Footlights before training as a director at Welsh National Opera and the Royal Opera. In 2009 his London debut, Mrs Lazarus (words by Carol Ann Duffy), was named “premiere of the year” in Classical Music Magazine and he was appointed Opera Director in Residence of the Nordisk Sångfestival in Lapland. In 2011 he adapted and directed Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis at The Scoop at More London. He has translated and directed operas at the Arcola Theatre (Stoneheart), the King’s Head Theatre (Hansel and Gretel, The Medium, The Telephone, Americana), St John’s Smith Square (L’enfant et les sortilèges) and in 2013 directed The Four Note Opera for Dioneo. In 2012 he directed Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di anima e di corpo in Venice with Philip Thorby conducting; the production was subsequently revived in the UK. He will direct Janos Vajda’s Mario and the Magician later this year.
He said “The idea of doing King Lear came about as David Ryall and I developed a relationship on Iphigenia at Aulis. I met David on the District line. He was playing Feste in Peter Hall’s production of Twelfth Night at the National Theatre. I asked him whether he would play Calchas in Iphigenia; he agreed, and ended up playing Clytemnestra as well. As David and I found we enjoyed working together, we started talking about Lear. It was a fantasy at first, but in the end, we thought, why not?”
Cast: King Lear – David Ryall, Edgar – Dominic Kelly, Edmund – Michael Luke Walsh, Goneril – Wendy Morgan, Regan – Nikki Leigh Scott, Cordelia – Charlie Ryall, Kent – Dan MacLane, Gloucester – Stephen Christos, Fool – Ryan Wichert, Adam Drew, Ian Hallard, Anna Hawkes, Sanee Patell, Imogen Ryall, Alex Vendittelli, Karl Williams.
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Lewis Reynolds, Designed by Alexander McPherson, Lighting by Davy Cunningham, Sound design by John Leonard and Philip Matejtschuk, Assistant director Guido Martin Brandis
Thursday 6th March 2014 to Saturday 29th Mar 2014
Running Time: 3hrs (inc interval)
Suitable for 11+
Thursday 13th February 2014