Nashville Stagecraft to Present THE MAD KING LEAR, Begin. 3/27

Most theatre companies don't dare edit the works of William Shakespeare, much less refer to the Bard as "Ole' Bill" during rehearsals, but the artists at Nashville Stagecraft are doing just that in preparation for their inaugural production: The Mad King Lear, opening March 27th at the 4th Story Theater.

"It's not that we don't respect the genius of Shakespeare's work," says Artistic Director JP Schuffman, "We'd never stage it if we felt our audiences wouldn't enjoy and benefit from the experience. What we have done is carefully edit the text to make it more accessible for a modern audience, modifying the script just enough that our friends and neighbors can fully enjoy the story and feel like they are watching Shakespeare without struggling to translate a 450 year-old version of the English language. " Schuffman calls this process a textual "renovation" and says it's not such a strange idea. "Shakespeare has been translated into over 100 languages in the last century. Why shouldn't modern English speakers have access to the same depth of poetic nuance in these works as modern speakers of Mandarin or Italian?"

Additionally, engagement with a younger audience is key for the new company. Nashville Stagecraft is reaching out to local high schools and universities, offering deep discounts to both students and educators. Using a social media-based marketing campaign to share rehearsal photos and behind-the-scenes interviews, The Mad King Lear seeks to inspire and entertain a new generation of Shakespeare fans.

A cast of veteran Nashville talent brings the classic play to life, with Phil Brady(American Buffalo, Proof, The Lion in Winter) in the title role, Heather Alexander(Grapes of Wrath, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Miracle Worker) as the calculating Goneril, and Sara Gaddis(She Kills Monsters, Royal Gambit) as the devoted Cordelia.

Nashville Stagecraft is dedicated to making theater a dynamic and relevant part of Nashville's cultural conversation. Education, inclusivity, and craftsmanship are integral to the company's mission.

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