The History of King Lear

Nahum Tate (1652 - 1715)

The History of King Lear is an adaptation by Nahum Tate of William Shakespeare's King Lear. It first appeared in 1681, some seventy-five years after Shakespeare's version, and is believed to have replaced Shakespeare's version on the English stage in whole or in part until 1838. Unlike Shakespeare's tragedy, Tate's play has a happy ending, with Lear regaining his throne, Cordelia marrying Edgar, and Edgar joyfully declaring that "truth and virtue shall at last succeed." Regarded as a tragicomedy, the play has five acts, as does Shakespeare's, although the number of scenes is different, and the text is about eight hundred lines shorter than Shakespeare's. Many of Shakespeare's original lines are retained, or modified only slightly, but a significant portion of the text is entirely new, and much is omitted. The character of the Fool, for example, is absent. Although many critics — including Joseph Addison, August Wilhelm Schlegel, Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, and Anna Jameson — condemned Tate's adaptation for what they saw as its cheap sentimentality, it was popular with theatregoers, and was approved by Samuel Johnson, who regarded Cordelia's death in Shakespeare's play as unbearable. Shakespeare's version continued to appear in printed editions of his works, but, according to numerous scholars, including A.C. Bradley and Stanley Wells, did not appear on the English stage for over a hundred and fifty years from the date of the first performance of Tate's play Actors such as Thomas Betterton, David Garrick, and John Philip Kemble, who were famous for the role of Lear, were portraying Tate's Lear, not Shakespeare's. (Summary by Wikipedia)

King Lear: Bob Gonzalez
Gloster: Martin Geeson
Kent: Arielle Lipshaw
Edgar: Dublin Gothic
Edmund, the Bastard: Elizabeth Klett
Cornwall: David Goldfarb
Cornwall's Servant/Old Man/Gentleman/Servant: Algy Pug
Albany: Noel Badrian
Burgundy/Physician: VikingJames
Goneril's gentleman: Kristingj
Attendant/Messenger: CJacobA
Arante/Herald: Tiffany Halla Colonna
First Ruffian/Officer: Nathaniel W. C. Higgins
Second Ruffian/Captain: Robert Hoffman
Gonerill: Bev J. Stevens
Regan: Liberty Stump
Cordelia: Miss Avarice
Narrator: Algy Pug
Introduction/Prologue/Dramatis Personae: Martin Geeson

Audio edited by Phil Chenevert

Genre(s): Plays

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Preface, Prologue and Act 1 Group 00:35:56
Play 02 Act 2 Martin Geeson
Play 03 Act 3 Arielle Lipshaw
David Goldfarb
Play 04 Act 4 Algy Pug
Play 05 Act 5 & Epologue Elizabeth Klett
Algy Pug