By John K. Adams
“Have I gone mad? Or is it the world?” are questions asked by Shakespeare’s King Lear for the past 400 years and by anyone who’s been paying attention to the news lately.
Kasey Mahaffey plays the flamboyant, pivotal role of the Fool in this season’s hit production of King Lear, at A Noise Within.
The Fool always speaks truth to power, and so it is in Lear (played by Geoff Elliott). The Fool breaks all decorum by railing on the king, calling him the bigger fool. And Lear, trusting the Fool’s uncompromising honesty and doubting his own sanity, enlists the Fool to guide and protect him.
Both a family and political drama, Lear ultimately is stripped of everything, and must face his worst demons to find tenderness and love in a violent world.
King Lear is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s supreme masterpiece. Mahaffey describes it as a “spectacular offering of a play rarely done. This is the most rocket ship, fly by the seat of your pants, breakneck production ever.” And, he says, it stars “three wildly talented actresses” in the roles of the king’s daughters.
Mahaffey continues, “Theatre must entertain but also hold a mirror up to society.” He adds, “Whatever your politics, it is pretty scary and uncertain out there now. This play reveals truths about relationships, governing and humanity.”
Mahaffey also plays Sancho Panza in the concurrent production of Man of La Mancha. “King Lear and La Mancha mirror each other and both are filled with unabashed hope.”
This season’s “The Great Escape” presents both plays and dinner, back-to-back in one memorable evening. The visionary Julia Rodriguez-Elliott directs both plays.
Shakespeare’s” King Lear” plays through May 6th/”Man of La Mancha” plays through June 4th at A Noise Within located at 3352 E Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena. Visit ANoiseWithin.org for show dates and times or call (626) 356-3100.