King Lear - The Independent Eye

About the Show:
Shakespeare’s text, edited to 100 minutes, with no intermission. Performed by live actors as Lear and Fool, with 28 puppets operated and voiced in full view by the actors within a 6′ x 6′ x 7′ ft. frame, with sound score & abstract video.

Lear is the puppeteer of his own puppet show, to himself the only real human in his motherless kingdom of power and commodity. His whimsical love quiz is sprung from desperate thirst: love is merchandise for barter, quantifiable by the number of knights under his command. Lear obsessively plays out his loss of power, friendship, shelter, sanity, and at last even hope: his newly-hatched understandings bring no redemption. The Fool is his withered soul, an acid clown who torments Lear, stage-manages his story (handing him puppets, operating tech cues, voicing minor characters), and finally disappears into Lear’s madness.

The condensation of space and cast is intended to give a unified, living voice to the text. The puppetry allows a much broader vocal and gestural vocabulary than conventional productions, and a fluid swing between realistic scenic action and metaphoric expression. And I believe it’s greatly intensified by circus-act element of two live actors (juggling puppets, props & tech cues) doing the whole damned thing.

About the Company:
The Independent Eye is in its 41st season. Over that span of time, it has taken many shapes: a larger touring ensemble, a resident theatre, and a collaborator with many other theatres & colleges, always using ensemble philosophy & techniques under guidance of founder/directors Bishop & Fuller. Presently, it’s a duo.

The Independent Eye is a 501(c)(3) theatre for creation of new work and new visions of classics. Founded by Bishop & Fuller in 1974, it toured from its Chicago base until 1977, then moved to Lancaster, PA, and from 1981 to 1991 presented a resident season in a renovated 100-seat theatre in addition to touring. In 1992, it moved to Philadelphia and created a 49-seat theatre, presenting a regular season 1992-99. In 1999, it moved to Sebastopol, CA. Its present focus is creation of puppetry and cross-genre work, primarily for touring.

Since 1974, the Eye has produced 78 works, including 47 Bishop/Fuller scripts, for over 3,500 performances. It has toured 35 states and Canada, retaining many of its major pieces over spans of 2 to 15 years. The full story is at www.independenteye.org.