NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Performances of King Lear captivates

The Top Notch Players of NECC held a breathtaking performance of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” Nov. 12, 13, and 14 this past week. “King Lear” depicts the story of King Lear (Jim Murphy) in ancient Britain, attempting to divide the kingdom among his three daughters Cordelia (Abigail Seabrook), Regan (Caitlin Kennedy) and Goneril (Geehae Moon). 

His initial plan to give the largest portion to his favorite daughter Cordelia goes awry when she refuses to be a part of his challenge to profess her love to him in order to win over his land.

Instead of deceiving him with sappy, excessive compliments, she tells him she only loves him as a daughter.

He is enraged by this and banishes her from his kingdom, along with the Earl of Kent (Craig Ciampa), who tries to defend her.  Cordelia leaves and accepts a marriage proposal from the king of France (E.P Lehner) while the Earl of Kent secretly stays behind to protect Lear from his two remaining daughters and their corruption. 

The tragedy unfolds when the remaining daughters begin to show their true nature.

Goneril reveals she plans to treat him like he’s an old man, so he opts to stay with Regan

Lear discovers his daughters put. Kent and he realizes they are conspiring against him.

The Earl of Gloucester (J. Mark Morrison) overhears the sisters are planning to murder Lear and informs Kent immediately, to warn Lear.

Kent, Lear and the Fool (played by Sarah Bird) leave for Dover at once. 

Edgar (Christian Doyle) remains hidden and Regan and Goneril discover Lear’s plan to flee. The Duke Cornwall (Hunter Gouldthorpe) gouges Gloucester’s eyes out.

The tragedy ends with Goneril poisoning Regan due to her jealously for Edmund (Daniel Burns-Mckernan) and the death of Cordelia.

Upon the discovery of her death, Lear falls dead on her body.

The vindictive sides of both Goneril and Regan are beautifully crafted on stage, coinciding with Murphy’s portrayal of Lear becoming more and more paranoid as time goes on in the tragedy. From soliloquies to fight scenes, the Top Notch Players gave an incredible and captivating performance that encapsulates the turmoil in ancient Britain and accurately portrays Shakespeare’s complex characters.

Although the show had some setbacks due to illness among the cast and crew, the Top Notch Players pulled together an incredibly well done show, celebrating one of the greatest playwrights of all time.

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