By Carey Purcell
10 Feb 2014
Shakespeare's familial tragedy will begin performances March 14, prior to an official opening March 27. The production will continue through May 4 in the Scripps Mainstage at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.
Directed by Arin Arbus, King Lear marks the 32nd of Shakespeare's 37 plays that Theatre for a New Audience has produced.
Pennington is an Honorary Associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has performed in Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida. His screen credits include "The Iron Lady," "The War of the Roses," "Royal Shakespeare Company: Richard II" and "Cymbeline."
The ensemble features Benjamin Cole (The Tempest, A Christmas Carol), Jason Gray (Ivanov, unbidden), Jonathan Hooks (Julius Caesar, Richard's Rampage), Patrick McAndrew (Twelfth Night, Titus Andronicus), Ryan McCarthy, Ian Temple and Ariel Zuckerman (Home with TE'A, The Merchant of Venice).
"What does it say about us culturally that there are these many productions?" artistic director Jeffrey Horowitz said in a statement. "This is a play about a King; written for a King that investigates what is a King. King Lear is most often directed by men. Of the current six productions, Arin Arbus is the only female director and it is the first time she will direct the play."
"I'd been asked to play Lear before in the U.K. If you've played Hamlet, Macbeth Richard II and others, people expect you'll be getting ready for Lear," Pennington added. "But, you have to be careful and not do it because it's there. Only when it sets your blood running. About four years ago, I realized that I was probably ready for it. Most decisions in the theatre are based on hunches. I had the strongest intuition that I wanted to work with Arin. And, I love working with American artists on Shakespeare. For all sorts of reasons, he gives both sides a great meeting ground."
The production will also have scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Susan Hilferty and lighting by Marcus Doshi. The composer is Michael Attias, fights are by B.H. Barry and company voice work is by Andrew Wade. Renee Lutz is production stage manager.
Visit tfana.org for more information.