Stephen F. Murray
Director & Playwright

Lear's Last

by Stephen F. Murray

Sean Ewert as Fool and Jim Farrell as Lear

with original music by Dawen Wang

Bailiwick Director's Festival

Chicago, IL

June 23-25, 2008

A expressionist retelling of King Lear for the new millennia. Trapped in the hovel of his mind, Lear must come to terms with the deterioration of his body as he faces his mortality. This new telling examines what old age means with the advent of technology to sustain the body longer than the mind was designed to endure.

    The world has turned into a desolate wasteland. Lear, his Fool, and Kent are stranded together in a hovel. While running short on rations, the Fool and Kent struggle to care for the aging Lear. As the King slips further and further into the recesses of his mind he becomes increasingly difficult and angry. In his last throws of desperation, he stands to deliver the “Blow winds” speech in attempts to transcend his situation; but instead he forgets his words. He is left with nothing – not even his fool – and in this emptiness he finally understands. He kneels and prays for the wretched of the earth. He retreats to his throne and prepares for the cycle to repeat itself.


Sean Ewert as the Fool, Jim Farrell as Lear, and Asher Hart as Kent
Sean Ewert as the Fool talks to Jim Farrell as Lear through a tin-can-and-string-telephone