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King Lear Cast Photo

King Who?

This term the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals (aka, Dartmouth's only student-run Shakespeare company of which I am both a proud member and have written several other posts about!) put on a production of Shakespeare's beloved tragedy, King Lear

And boy, was this one a doozy – an amazing experience and incredible show, but a doozy nonetheless. If you're interested in learning more about how one of Dartmouth's student-run theater companies operates, read ahead!

Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals King Lear Poster
Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals King Lear Poster

King Lear!

If you are unfamiliar with King Lear, have no fear 

I'll provide a synopsis clear, for you to hear. 

(Hey, I perform Shakespeare, I'm not trying to pretend I can write it.)

Anyway! King Lear is about an octogenarian monarch who has a tear in his bag of marbles. Before he loses all of them, he decides to split his kingdom into thirds and divide it amongst his three daughters. His favorite daughter, however, refuses to play a part in his little game, and runs away with her soon-to-be spouse, the King of France. 

As his decline into madness worsens, his other two daughters eventually refuse to house him, leaving him to wander into a storm. Meanwhile, the politics of the realm have only gotten messier, and all of the characters, good and bad alike, are slowly picked off by either malevolent action or their own foolishness. Very few survive this play, and it's horribly entertaining to watch just how rapidly everything devolves. 

It's a great read, but even better to see performed – in fact, if you're interested in watching our production, it's available here on youtube for your viewing pleasure.

King Lear giving an impassioned, angry monologue.
Our King Lear gives an impassioned, angry monologue.

My Exp-LEAR-ience

As mentioned in my post about Coriolanus, our spring term show, I am the Production Manager for the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals. This means that it is my job to coordinate and supervise all the technical elements of our shows – and Lear in particular was one of the most technically challenging shows that the Rude Mechanicals have ever put on. 

I discussed my role in the previously linked post, but this show required more of me than last time. For example, I recruited folks outside of the company for technical positions in Lear like lighting designer (Yifei Liu '26), and our stage manager/sound designer (Lilla Bozek '27). Lilla, our stage manager, even joined our company officially at the end of the term! 

Also, with the increased technical needs of the show, we scheduled and held bi-weekly production meetings: always attended by myself, our director Aleksa Sotirov '26, and our aforementioned SM Lilla Bozek '27; often adding our lighting designer Yifei Liu '26, our company manager Heather Damia '24, and our treasurer Nick Luikey '24. These meetings ensured that everything for the production was on schedule and running smoothly. 

Finally, I was in charge of researching and purchasing a lot of props for the show (greatly aided by Lilla). We purchased an interesting array of items: a bluetooth speaker that looks like a 1920s transistor radio, a pair of handcuffs, prop guns, false mustaches, etc.

My final job was the simple task of problem-solving just about any issue that came up. The job involves a lot of thinking on one's feet and staying on one's toes. And now another problem has arisen: this post will be far too long in its original form, so I believe I will split it into two parts! Stay tuned to read more about King Lear!

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