Jul 12, 2024
Jul 14, 2024

Compagnia de' Colombari: KING LEAR

Compagnia de' Colombari
Directed & Adapted by Karin Coonrod with Original Music by Frank London

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Following a successful world premiere at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in June, Compagnia de’ Colombari’s fresh, vital and urgent KING LEAR debuts in New York City for a limited run of four performances at La MaMa ETC (66 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003). Tickets are available online HERE for $45 ($25 student tickets available). Opening Night is Friday, July 12, at 7pm, with performances at 2pm & 7pm on Saturday, July 13 and 5pm on Sunday, July 14. The play, explored in five “movements,” is adapted and directed by Karin Coonrod with original music by long-time collaborator Frank London, a talented team of designers, and a diverse cast of ten actors playing King Lear and other characters. This Off-Broadway premiere marks Coonrod’s return to presenting boldly experimental Shakespeare adaptations at La MaMa ETC after her highly lauded production of The Tempest was a NY Times Critic’s Pick in 2014.

Compagnia de’ Colombari’s KING LEAR is a primal, physical, and potent  “paper crown” Lear that strips the Shakespearian classic to its essence. Coonrod utilizes her signature “multiplicity” to shift and deepen audiences’ connection with the characters. Ten diverse actors ranging in age and gender embody King Lear at the beginning and conduct a radical take-over of the text and space. Their unity fragments as they tear off their paper crowns and transform into other roles, competing for influence and diminishing the legion of Lears by their existence. Through a vigorous exploration of the characters’ egos, motivations, and power dynamics, the actors dig deep into the internal and external voyage of a stubborn, fractured soul who must lose everything to find himself. Transformation takes place in the apocalypse. Coonrod’s immersive production commands us to, as Kent says to King Lear, “See better.”

Throughout 2024, Compagnia de’ Colombari is celebrating 20 years of generating spectacle, disrupting and reconstructing texts and spaces under the direction of Karin Coonrod with a robust Anniversary Season. Of Coonrod’s direction, The New York Times proclaimed, “this experimental director has a knack for transforming high concepts into accessible theater” and calls her “a theater artist of far-reaching inventiveness” who uses a “style that deconstructs to construct.” Other season highlights include an Italian / U.S. tour of Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge (Fall 2024) and multiple U.S. tour dates for Whitman on Walls! (WoW!).

Photos by Shin Kurokawa

About Compagnia de’ Colombari:

Compagnia de' Colombari is an international collective of performing artists, generating theater in surprising places for over 20 years under the vision of director Karin Coonrod. Colombari intentionally clashes cultures, traditions and art forms to bring fresh interpretations to the written word. It is founded on the twin principles that the magic of great theater can happen anywhere and be accessible to everyone. Colombari was born in Orvieto, Italy, in 2004, where the company re-imagined the medieval mystery plays and performed them in the streets and piazzas. The company launched a parallel theatrical experience at its New York City home base that same year. Colombari's 20th anniversary season focuses on unique theatrical adaptations of works by Walt Whitman, Flannery O'Connor and William Shakespeare. 

Compagnia de' Colombari's 20th Anniversary Season programs are made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), The Eucalyptus Foundation, and support from other funders and donors.


Brandon Burton (KING LEAR/Edgar)
Abigail Killeen (KING LEAR/Goneril)
Elijah Martinez (KING LEAR/Edmund)
Jo Mei (KING LEAR/Regan)
Tom Nelis (KING LEAR/France)
Lukas Papenfusscline (KING LEAR/Fool)
Michael Potts (KING LEAR/Gloucester)
Paul Pryce (KING LEAR/Kent)
Celeste Sena (KING LEAR/Cordelia)
Zuzanna Szadkowski (NYC) & Tony Torn (KING LEAR/Oswald)
Paul Wellington (Black Angel #1) 
Peter Gomez (Black Angel #2)
Ariel Mayer (Black Angel #3)


Adaptor and Director: Karin Coonrod
Composer: Frank London
Costume Designer: Oana Botez
Paper Crowns: Tine Kindermann
Scenic and Space Designer: Riccardo Hernández
Lighting Designer: Stephen Strawbridge
Sound Design: Tye Hunt Fitzgerald
Dramaturg: Gabrielle Hoyt
Fight Director: Michael Rossmy

Assistant Director: Jacob Basri
Director of Production: Kino Alvarez
Stage Manager: Rebecca Werner
Assistant Stage Manager: Kate Semmens
Assistant Costume Design: Caleb Krieg 
Costume Construction: Talla Dia & Caleb Krieg 
Costume Painting: Jennifer Stanjeski
Assistant Lighting Design: Krista Smith
Lighting Programmer and Board Op: Gib Gibney
Fight Captain: Brandon Burton
Production Assistants: Luca Evans & Ariel Mayer
Company Manager (NYC): Jesse Rasmussen

Compagnia de’ Colombari:

Artistic Director: Karin Coonrod
General Manager: Jennifer Harrison Newman
Development Manager: Sofia Crouch
Publicist, Marketing & Communications Manager: Cindy Sibilsky

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