Shielding family to perform King Lear live at home

Published: 20 July 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

Streamed live: King Lear

Family-run theatre company Oddsocks is to present an online comedy version of Shakespeare's King Lear which will be "as it has never been seen before".

Creative producer Elli Mackenzie said, "our daughter Charlie, who's playing Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, has a very rare condition which puts her at severe risk of complications if she contracts COVID-19. So even though open-air performance is now allowed, it's not an option for us just yet."

The company, which said it was “bitterly disappointed” to have been turned down by Arts Council England for emergency funding, specialises in producing open-air theatre. It is planning to return to performing live in September. In the meantime, Oddsocks is marking the end of restrictions by airing the last of its series of Stay Home Shakespeare.

King Lear will be streamed live from the family's home in Derbyshire. Each scene, performed in different rooms in real-time, will be edited live by director of photography Kee Ramsorrun, working remotely from his studio in Margate.

"We're like swans in water during the 45-minute performance," said Elli who is playing both Lear's elder daughters Goneril and Regan. "The aim is to make it look smooth but it's rehearsed mayhem off camera. During scenes when one of us isn't in shot, we're busy changing costumes, moving props, setting up rooms and moving cameras into new positions throughout, which is quite a challenge.

"When we performed Macbeth in May, we drew an audience of thousands watching it go out live online, so we're hoping for as big an audience this time around. It takes a lot of preparation and weeks of rehearsing and we have just one chance to get it right. It's exciting and keeps us in practice while we can't tour."

King Lear will be performed live on Friday 31 July at 7PM at the Oddsocks' web site where the company's previous Stay Home Shakespeare productions can be viewed.