Queen Lear is King Lear by Shakespeare turned into a musical play en travesti.
The tragedy, performed by five drag queens and directed by Francesco Micheli, has been renewed and re-written by the British playwright Claire Dowie and the Italian composer Enrico Melozzi.
Queen Lear is the new production by Nina’s Drag Queens. The show, written and performed in English, will debut in season 2018/2019. The company is currently looking for productive partners and venues, worldwide.
A CONTEMPORARY STORY
An elderly lady, who moved from Italy to Uk in the 50’s and opened a little doll shop, is now facing the end of her business and of her life. Struggling with her physical decay, she is unable to give way to new generations, and to separate herself from her things, in spite of the efforts of her three daughters and of the loyal friend Mrs. Kent.
The Shakespearean themes are now associated to a contemporary, stark atmosphere, where castles become studio apartments, the moors are hospices, and the madness is Alzheimer’s disease. In this harsh world the old “queen” has no place to go but a hospice and here her epic visions – such as knights, wars, and medieval kingdoms – come to life.
Queen Lear deals with some uncomfortable themes of our time, such as old age, illness and death, on the background of a generation with a hard legacy on his back, a generation of children who may never be fathers.
AN INNOVATIVE LANGUAGE
This project aims to combine Shakespeare, the main reference for the European theatrical standards, with one of the highest expressions of Italian culture: Opera.
Moreover, Queen Lear is made unique by the main feature of the company: the use of a fascinating and immediate character, the drag queen, a sort of contemporary fool.
Drag queens act, sing, dance, make people laugh and cry, live and stir strong emotions, just like the heroines of melodrama do. For this reason a drag queen is the perfect key to translate Opera in a present-day form, innovating it through a contemporary, eclectic and excessive mask.
Queen Lear is also built on the idea of mixing together different kinds of show. The ambition is to put on stage a form of entertainment at the same time popular and high, which takes its strength from the use of pastiche and the break of genres boundaries.
THE ARTISTIC TEAM
Francesco Micheli (director) conceives the drag queens’ performances as contemporary opera: a theater with a great visual impact and accurate musical dramaturgy, dealing with capital issues without sacrificing the enjoyment of the show.
He is artistic director of Macerata Opera Festival and Donizetti Foundation and director of more than 30 opera shows, performed in Italy and abroad.
Enrico Melozzi (composer) merges different styles, creating a mèlange in which pop music is happily combined with contemporary classical music. His activity of composer coexists with a career as cellist, conductor and music producer.
Claire Dowie (playwright) has accustomed both British and international public to her ironic and daring plays, where a social urgency coexists with an amazing lightness. Irreverent, poetic, brilliant, Claire Dowie is a rare and original voice on the European scene and her plays have been translated into many languages and seen around the world.
Nina’s Drag Queens (actors) Alessio Calciolari, Gianluca Di Lauro, Sax Nicosia, Lorenzo Piccolo, Ulisse Romanò studied in the main Italian Theatre Academy and performed in many productions in Italy and abroad, ranging from theater to opera, dance and cinema.
THE PRODUCTIVE PARTNERS
Aparte – Ali per l’arte is the productive leader. Born in 2008,it is a company of theater production and distribution which also provides services in the field of artistic education and communication. From the 2015 it is supported by Cariplo Foundation as part of fUnder35 program. Nina’s Drag Queens is the main project of Aparte.
Teatro Metastasio (Prato – Italy) will be the main co-producer of the project and will host the debut of the Italian version of the show. Metastasio is funded by The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and offers a varied theater season, giving special attention to audience’s education. The artistic director is currently Franco D’Ippolito.
The Record Label Sonzogno, founded in 1874 and responsible for the Italian distribution of many composers and authors (including Chailly, Negri, Corghi, Battiato, Tutino, Sollima, Boccadoro, Langston Hughes, Emanuele Luzzati, Bob Wilson, Peter Greenaway, Patti Smith, Jean-Claude Carrière, Carolyn Carlson, John Turturro) will cover the cost of music production.
The Kone Foundation, an historical Finnish organization created for the support of academic research and culture, will offer a period at the Saari Residence, in Hietmäki (Fi), a prestigious setting that brings together international artists of different disciplines.
Kilowatt Festival, an institution which is very careful to discover what is new on contemporary scene, will offer another period of artistic residency at the Teatro della Misericordia of San Sepolcro, Arezzo, in October 2017.
The Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, an Italian excellence, has renewed the successful collaboration started with The Cherry Orchard launching a three years workshop for a first study about scenes and costumes
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