Lear Alone

A web series based on King Lear exploring the intersection of social isolation, homelessness and ageing, in partnership with CRISIS

Written by William Shakespeare | Directed by Anthony Shrubsall | Starring Edmund Dehn

Released for free weekly on YouTube with and without subtitles

11 July – 31 August 2021

@andtomorrowtc | #LearAlone | www.andtomorrow.co.uk

Five free episodes released weekly on YouTube, Lear Alone uses just King Lear’s lines from the first folio of Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy to explore themes of loneliness, ageing and homelessness: a study of one man’s vulnerability as he confronts and negotiates a digital world. This disenfranchised Lear’s relationship to the text, and to the viewer, will be determined by the phone in his hand, the noise on the streets and the disturbance inside his head. Performed solely by 69-year-old actor Edmund Dehn, the project was filmed on location in and around London, starting at Actor’s Care Home Denville Hall. The series will be presented as a play within a play – as such, Edmund plays the part of an actor playing Lear: trying to find his voice and his place in the world as he grapples with homelessness.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics in 2019 showed that the number of older people in England seeking help for homelessness had risen by 39 per cent in the previous five years: a growing societal problem forced even further into the public consciousness as a result of Covid-19. In partnering with CRISIS, and by presenting the piece digitally, and for free, And Tomorrow Theatre Company hope to reach beyond a regular theatregoing audience, and to start new conversations around preconceptions of homelessness, particularly in relation to older people.

Once the final episode is released on 8 August, the full playlist of all five episodes will remain available to view until the end of the month so that people can watch the piece in its entirety, more akin to watching a play.

Director Anthony Shrubsall said, “Lear is timeless and unfortunately so is homelessness. In a time when we have all felt so alone it seemed right to use the artistry of the former to highlight the reality of the latter”.

Originally formed in response to Brexit, And Tomorrow Theatre Company maintains an emphatically international outlook. They are especially interested in exploring historical characters, both real life and fictional. Their inaugural production, Death of a Hunter drew together an English translation of a German play about American literary icon Ernest Hemingway, and was presented in 2020 on YouTube in association with the Finborough Theatre, where it won an OffComm award. As actor and director respectively, Edmund Dehn and Anthony Shrubsall are also founding members of critically acclaimed Entire Theatre. Their most recent production Orbits explored the relationship between Bertolt Brecht and Charles Laughton. The company’s lead producer Sarah Lawrie also produced the world premiere of Scrounger which premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2020 and went on to win Best New Play at the 2021 Off West End Awards. And Tomorrow is proudly supported by Theater Auf’m Kahn in Berlin, Theatre Tricolore, Entire Theatre and The So & So Arts Club in London and is actively seeking new partnerships across Europe and beyond.

Running Time: Five 10 minute episodes | Suitable for ages 12+

Company information

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Anthony Shrubsall

Cinematographer, Sound Recordist and Editor Charles Teton

Music by Zelida Gordon

Cast

Edmund Dehn

Listings information

11 July – 31 August

Five episodes released weekly on Sundays at 6pm

Available online until 31 August

Free to watch and on demand with and without subtitles

https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/lear-alone/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRc2lmDAjXa1_wLCuL-PKFw

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and presented in partnership with CRISIS, Scenesaver and Elysium Theatre Company