Shrunken Shakespeare Company (SSC) had an exciting start to their season with their 2014 Fundraiser Gala at the TBG Theatre in New York City on Monday, April 21st. Paul Sorvino directed a special adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classical drama, Lear, and also assumed the lead role of Lear.
A total of 20 veteran actors joined in the staged reading sitting in chairs arranged in a semi-circle. And, like a rehearsal setting, the actors flipped through their scripts to cue and read their parts. The audience had an intimate and captivating view of the performance.
The contemporary staging of this great tragedy was set in 1905 with Lear as the CEO of a major corporation. The adaptation revamps the tale of a king who decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and he seeks to give the greatest share to the daughter that loves him the most. Blinded by pride and the true intentions of those around him, Lear finds that his kingdom drowns in a sea of deceit. And, it is the kingdom’s downward spiral that reveals the worst and best parts of human nature.
Paul Sorvino, Clodagh Bowyer, and Frederico Castelluccio
Sorvino’s distinctive adaptation begins filming as a full length feature this year. Monday’s reading highlighted Sorvino’s technique in interpreting classical text and his personal talent in the demanding and dynamic role. There were many outstanding performances including Yvonne Cone as Cordelia, Dominic Cuskern as Gloucester, Chukwudi Iwuji as Edmund and Wayne Powers as The Fool. Paul Sorvino’s son, Michael Sorvino, played major roles as Edgar and France. The entire cast and crew generously donated their time and talents. Sorvino told the audience after the performance that the reading was accomplished with just three days of rehearsal.
Following the reading, guests were invited to mingle, meet the performers and enjoy drinks, appetizers and desserts. Monday night’s gala was triumph for the company and ushers in their potentially successful season.
SSC has been developing a name in the New York Independent Theatre scene. The company is co-produced by Yvonne Cone and Jennifer Martina. SSC relies on the dedication of artists, collaborators and volunteers who are willing to invest time in their endeavors. Their mission is to take classical theatre pieces, primarily Shakespeare, create new devices and present them in a way that their audiences have not yet experienced.
Shrunken Shakespeare Company will continue their production season with a radio play adaptation of the graphic novel, Kill Shakespeare, on May 11th at the Kraine Theater and an original adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters in the fall.