Monday, September 27, 2010

Young Jean Lee

Gone all weekend visiting relatives and missed Young Jean Lee's The Shipment at the ICA, which made me sad: I have been reading so much about her, and her plays, and really was hoping they might extend it beyond this weekend, as I've been dying to see something by her. 

Her Lear (above) from last season - a re-imagining of King Lear from Goneril and Regan and Edgar and Edmund's perspective, or something like that -  sounded really fascinating and jaunty and cool, and seems to have pissed a lot of people off, or thrilled them, or both.

(the NYTimes called it a "hot mess"). 

Here's some samples of Lear, from the Times review:

"EDGAR: Edmund and I just enjoyed the most wonderful meal.
REGAN: What did you have?
EDGAR: Six different roasted meats and fowls, new potatoes, spring sausage, onion soup. And gooseberry tart with country cream.
GONERIL: Lovely.
EDGAR: The soup was covered by nearly an inch of baked cheese.
GONERIL: Goodness, Edgar. How did you—
EDMUND: I’m a bad person!
EDMUND: I only care about myself.
REGAN: Everyone is selfish.
EDMUND: I betrayed my father. He’s out in the storm with his eyes gouged out.
EDGAR: Our father was a traitor.
EDMUND: Plus everyone is starting to look fat to me.
EDGAR: What do you mean?
EDMUND: Everyone looks fat. Regan looks fat, you look fat. Unless someone is completely skeletal with no muscle or anything, I think they look fat.
GONERIL: That’s really evil.
EDMUND: I know! . . .
REGAN: People’s bodies are just tragic.
GONERIL: I’m a bad person.
REGAN: I’m the one who did it.
GONERIL: That’s true.
REGAN: I’m the one who did the bad thing to the old man with the gouging of the eyes and so forth, letting him bleed into the snow.
GONERIL: There was no snow.
REGAN: There can be snow if I say so.
REGAN: I say there was a lot of snow and that his eyes bled rings into the ground, burrowing down.
GONERIL: Stop it, Regan.
REGAN: I can see our father.
GONERIL: Don’t say that.
REGAN: I can see him in the storm, bleeding rings into the ground.
GONERIL: That’s Edgar and Edmund’s father.
REGAN: Our father is out there too.
GONERIL: Shut up.
GONERIL: Something is different with Cordelia’s teeth.
REGAN: Her . . . she looks like she’s been sharpening. . . .
GONERIL: She’s shiny, somehow.
REGAN: Maybe she just needs to blot. . . .
(Cordelia enters.)
GONERIL: Hi, Cordelia, what have you been doing all day?
CORDELIA: Nothing.
REGAN: It’s nice to have you back home.
CORDELIA: I’m happy about it. . . .
GONERIL: Did you have some work done with your teeth?
GONERIL: They look lovely. Very sharp.
CORDELIA: Thank you.
REGAN: So what is France like?
CORDELIA: Lots of blue. Lots of gray. Massive clocks embedded in the stone, with the clouds drifting by. Lovely.
GONERIL: Lovely.
REGAN: We were so sorry about how you left.
CORDELIA: I’m sure you were. "


  1. What really bothers me about this dialogue is that potatoes were not introduced to Europe until 1536 and Lear, of course, takes place in a much earlier era.

    Yes, those are the things that bug me.

  2. You know what bugs me?
    What ARE they?
    I dropped one in the ocean once and it sizzled and spluttered around like a crazy, out of control motor boat.

  3. Ps: I think "spluttered" is a word I made up. Just now. For when you drop Funyuns. Into briny water.

  4. Ha! "Splutter" is a real word with an illustrious history! first known use 1677!

    And yes, you did use it correctly!

  5. Well thanks, how about that! I'm going to use it all the time now!


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