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March 24, 2010

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King Lear: family greed and betrayal

DARK family greed, jealousy, intrigue and betrayal dripping from the pages of Shakespeare's "King Lear" will be brought to life when the Shanghai Repertory Theater (SRT) holds its premiere tonight.

The ambitious theater group will stage the tragedy at the Ke Center for Contemporary Arts on Kaixuan Road until Sunday.

The opening play of the theater company's spring season, "King Lear" is directed by seasoned Shanghai actor Philip Knight and features an international cast.

Thomas Caron, a veteran Shakespearean actor and founder of Shanghai Shakespeare, will play King Lear, who wants to divide his realm among his three daughters and give the largest share to the daughter who loves him best.

"'King Lear' is one of the most far-reaching artistic explorations of the human condition, with its tempestuous poetry shot through with touches of humor and moments of heart-rending simplicity," says Shanghai Repertory Theater Founder Rosita Janbakhsh, who plays Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia.

"This production enters a vicious and visceral world where greed and ambition turns sister against sister, master against servant, and child against parent," she says.

SRT was launched last December with a performance of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

Having now found a permanent home at the Ke Center, the theater company has quickly grown in size to more than 25 members.

As well as further performances of "King Lear" at the Shanghai American School's Puxi Campus on April 9-10, the theater company will also stage a 12-day theater festival as part of its spring schedule of events.

"SRT is organic at its roots, passionate at its core, and ever growing," says Janbakhsh.

The performance will be in English with Chinese subtitles.

Date: Today, 8pm

Venue: Ke Center for Contemporary Arts, 613 Kaixuan Rd, near Yan'an Rd W.

Tickets: 200 yuan at the door (also available online at

Date: April 9-10, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai American School's Performing Arts Center, 258 Jinfeng Rd

Tickets: 200 yuan for adults; 150 yuan for students


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