A2S2 of King Lear is a great scene, worthy of the best of soaps (ehem), and probably as long as most soap episodes, though rather more dramatic. It starts with Kent and Oswald falling out and fighting, and Kent ends up in the stocks. The guts of the scene occurs when Lear arrives, finds his Fool in the stocks, and his daughter Regan unwilling to see him. He wants to tell Regan how awfully Goneril has treated him, but it all falls apart when Goneril arrives on scene. Lear gets the worst of a negotiation with his two daughters as to how many gentlemen servants he can have. All this while a storm is rising, and at the end Lear, the Fool, etc go out into the storm.
It’s a great scene to try out if you (and your group – there are ten roles in the scene) are interested in play-reading. Instead of the 3 hours of a full play this should take, I guess, 20 – 30 minutes to read. Some of the parts, inevitably, are quite small, but if you play the scene more than once you can correct for that by changing roles. The one disadvantage of the scene is you do need to have someone willing to take on the role of Lear, which is pretty demanding in this scene, as it is in the whole play.
Each player needs their own tablet, smartphone, or laptop, with a web browser. The experience is probably best on a tablet, then a smartphone, and then a laptop. The main advantages of the tablet and smartphone are: the touchscreen which makes scrolling easier, and the full-screen presentation of the text.
Each player needs to select one of the following roles to play, and clicking on the link will take them to a script for the scene which shows their role in Highlit Text (their lines are highlit in a colour; other speakers lines are shown in conventional black on white). Roles are in order of appearance in this scene.
After each player has beem allocated a role, they should click on the link for the appropriate Player No., which will take them to A1S1 of the play, with their role(s) highlit in colour, in the scenes in which they appear.
When everyone has selected their role, let the reading commence.
When you’ve read the play, there’s a number of things you can do:
Let us know how it went (good and bad) by posting on Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page
Reallocate roles and read the scene again and again until the speeches sound ‘just right’
Choose another piece for 2, 3, 4, or more players to read from: Playreadings for 2 players
Choose another play to read from: Playreadings of Complete Plays
If you want to understand better how to use our MFFEV5 CloudReader, read:
- Preparing Malvolio for Performance using MFFEV5 CloudReader and Parts and Cues