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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

“'By Order of Law': Shakespeare’s King Lear”

Shakespeare & the Law: Scenes and Panel on Legal Issues from 'King Lear,' September 23, 2009

Posted: September 21, 2009

Actors from Spirit of Shakespeare (SOS), a UT student organization, will perform scenes from King Lear as part of a panel discussion entitled “'By Order of Law': Shakespeare’s King Lear” on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009, in the Eidman Courtroom at The University of Texas School of Law from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The event, free and open to the public, begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Jamail Pavilion adjacent to the Eidman Courtroom in the Law School’s John B. Connally Center. (See the Law School’s maps and directions: http://www.utexas.edu/law/about/maps/.)

The panel's title, "By Order of Law," taken from an early speech by the Earl of Gloucester, raises issues central to King Lear: legitimacy, inheritance, and proprietary rights within the kingdom and the family.

Similar panels exploring other Shakespeare texts and legal issues have been offered every year since the 2002 interdisciplinary conference, "From Text to Performance: Law and other Performing Arts," which was a week-long investigation of interpretations of drama, music, law, and art. It included four different productions of the courtroom scene in Act Four of The Merchant of Venice.

Shakespeare and the Law is an endlessly fascinating topic because Shakespeare's understanding of the Law is so complex and nuanced that it is often cited as one of the three areas of knowledge (the others are the Court and Classical Mythology) that most astound critics who contemplate his authorship of the plays. 

Many are amazed that a relatively uneducated working class lad could have mastered these three fields.  Such legal and related issues will be discussed by the panelists, who include:


o    Julius Getman, the Earl E. Sheffield Regents Chair at The University of Texas School of Law, Panel Moderator

o    Douglas Bruster, Professor of Renaissance English

o    Matthew Davies, Professional British Actor, Associate Director of Actors from the London Stage, and English Department Ph.D. student

o    Alan Friedman, Professor of English, Coordinator, Actors from the London Stage, and Faculty Advisor, Spirit of Shakespeare


This event is part of an annual program, Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS), a celebration of Shakespeare at UT-Austin.  Since 1999, AFTLS has brought its unique educational and theatrical program, which features a troupe of five classically trained actors from major English theaters, to this campus for week-long residencies.  During that week, the actors teach 25 classes and workshops; offer a one-person show in the Harry Ransom Center's Poetry on the Plaza series; and perform, with minimal props, King Lear with a breath-taking clarity of language, characterization, and action.

Residency Events

Wednesday, September 30, 12 noon.  "The Sand and the Oyster: The Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy" by Caroline Devlin.  Harry Ransom Center Plaza.  Free admission.

Wednesday, September 30, 7:30 PMKing Lear.  Actors from the London Stage Performance (Q & A with actors to follow).  University of Texas at Austin, Winship Building, B. Iden Payne Theatre.

Thursday, October 1, 7:30 PMKing Lear.  Actors from the London Stage Performance.  University of Texas at Austin, Winship Building, B. Iden Payne Theatre.

Friday, October 2, 7:30 PMKing Lear.  Actors from the London Stage Performance.  University of Texas at Austin, Winship Building, B. Iden Payne Theatre.                           

Saturday, October 3, 7 PMKing Lear.  Actors from the London Stage Performance.  Round Top, Winedale Historic Center, Winedale Theatre Barn.

Ticket Information

B. Iden Payne Performances on September 30, October 1 & 2 at 7:30 PM: tickets available at the Performing Arts Center website, 477-6060, or 1-800-982-2386.  Affiliated tickets may be purchased without a service charge in person at the Frank Erwin Center Box Office (M-F, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) and the Bass Concert Hall Ticket Office (M-F, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. inside lobby and 2 - 6 p.m. outside ticket window).

Winedale Performance on October 3 at 7 PM (Winedale Historic Center, Round Top): tickets available at Winedale tickets.

For more information, please visit the UT AFTLS website or Actors from the London Stage.

 

Contact:

Laura Castro, director of media relations, UT School of Law, 512-232-1229, lcastro@law.utexas.edu.

Matt Harvey, UT English Department, 512-471-9567, mnh@mail.utexas.edu.

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