The range has been varied, as one would expect with a mixture of amateur/professional/mixed productions. Each has offered insights and delights, perhaps no greater than Michelle Terry’s luminescent Fool to Kathryn Hunter’s monarch at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The production, directed by Helena Kaut-Howson, captured the always enjoyable vivacity (even in tragedy) of Shakespearean theatre, with bold and confident engagement by the actors with the groundlings and wider audience.
Of the four shows, two stuck to the Bard’s text, while the directors of two chose to ‘adapt’ or revise the work according a concept. Jo Emery’s take, set in the corporate world, used texting and mobile phones to varied success.
A stalwart question in any literary Q and A is ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’
Mulling over my recent adventures in Learland, and reading of the car crash the Lambeth Conference has created by its own devising, I see another concept looming. The Lambeth Calls have exploded in the face of organisers of the gathering of bishops from around the world. So how about an Ecclesiastical Lear?
The Church of England has, of course, some previous in trying to hold the bag of snakes that come from different terrains with an attempt of some display of calm. When the decision was made by General Synod to approve the ordination of women to the priesthood, it also set up a system which ‘accommodated’ those who did not agree.
In doing so, it established an ongoing sore. My views on this are clear. Women should be involved in all levels of the Church, including its ordained ministry.
Though I have argued on Biblical principles that men should be excluded from the Archiepiscopacy. This is based on the commissioning of Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostle by Jesus after his Resurrection.
I believe the Church of England was, and is, wrong to extend its tolerance to incoming clergy who object to women in the breadth of orders. It could have extended care for those who felt ‘the rules had changed’ but to keep ordaining objectors, who use theological arguments to justify what is sexism, of not misogyny, should be called out for what it is. An uncomfortable parallel exists, though often denied, if such provision were based on race or class. (Oh, I forgot, the CofE is riddled with privilege.)
Which gets me to my Ecclesiastical Lear…
The Head of the Communion thinks he will have a conference to ‘carve up’ the territories and provinces. This will be based on a ‘Tell me how much you love me’ basis. Archbishop, or Pope, Lear is doing this ‘that future strife may be prevented now’. As solutions go, it has its own impetus. Spoiler alert: it does not go well.
Such a production would allow my interests of theatre (especially King Lear), religion and poetry to run riot.
Perhaps it could be performed as a sideshow to the circus in Canterbury?