National Theatre of London on the Big Screen: King Lear

Even long-running stage productions are seen by relatively few patrons in comparison to film and television shows. The National Theatre of London, hoping to extend the reach of brilliant stage productions, decided to film live performances to be screened in movie theaters. It has filmed more than 20 productions, the latest is William Shakespeare‘s great tragedy, King Lear. Showing only twice in Houston in May, the film uses close-ups and multiple cameras to more fully capture the emotional punch of live theater.

As with the traditional play, Lear is an aging ruler who turns over his kingdom to his daughters, then finds himself without power or authority, betrayed, and facing a merciless existence, nursing self-inflicted wounds. The director is Sam Mendes, who won an Academy Award for the film American Beauty and theatrical fame by re-staging musicals including Cabaret, Oliver, Company and Gypsy with a noticeably darker ambiance. Mendes placed King Lear in modern dress, set in a totalitarian country. Tackling Lear is Simon Russell Beale, considered by some the finest actor of his generation, whose Hamlet in 2004 was widely acclaimed.

7:15 p.m. May 19, 12:30 p.m. May 24. Sundance Cinemas, 510 Texas. For information, call 713-223-3456 or visit $20.
Mon., May 19, 7:15 p.m.; Sat., May 24, 12:30 p.m., 2014

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.