Yellow Earth Theatre, Lear’s Daughters

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

Yellow Earth Theatre has reworked a feminist exploration of Shakespeare's King Lear: Lear's Daughters, written by the Women's Theatre Group in the 80s to explore issues important to women at that time. Director Tse, interested in the relevance of Lear's Daughters to the new millennium, workshopped the play with Chinese women trying to understand their relationships with their fathers. But this production does not draw out any more than we may already know or guess about father daughter relationships. It is uncertain whether we are seeing an experience from the Chinese perspective.

The daughters – Cordelia the favourite, Goneril the eldest and Regan the outsider – have lives ruled by their position in a (mainly absent) father's heart. With a mother preoccupied with conceiving a son, the sisters are forced to vie for their parents’ affection. The physical element, using contemporary dance and everyday movement, serves to heighten each sister's sense of where she is placed in the family

But this is not so much a physical piece as one led by language, the dialogue being important to explore the depth of the relationships and each individual's story. For instance, we never see the father but we know through captivating storytelling, brought to us via the characters of the nanny and the fool, that his presence is alive and strong. As for the visual elements: the design by Mark Hemerton – monochrome finished with silver and grey – provides a world both classic and contemporary, retro and futuristic. Maybe more specific visual references and details to inform and illustrate the production would have been brought to us through Kazuko Hohki's video work, but unfortunately this wasn't working on the night.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 27