Insurgent Presents LEARZERK!! this Saturday

Jun. 16, 2009
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Theatre in Milwaukee tends to fall asleep somewhere around late May/early June. And when Milwaukee theatre sleeps in early summer, it usually has rather strange dreams involving weird, offbeat and vaguely surreal DIY theatre things. This year, perhaps still reacting to the shock of the loss of a major company dedicated to the works of Shakespeare, local theatre is dreaming of the long dead playwright.

Just one of several Shakespeare shows due to make it to local stages these next few weeks is Insurgent Theatre’s production of King Lear. Widely considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest achievements, King Lear tells the tale of an ancient king of England from a time before the Roman Empire. Lear is getting old and decides to split his kingdom up between his three daughters, offering the largest parcel of land to the one who loves him the best. You can imagine how things go from there. It’s a tragedy. Many consider it to be depressing.

Recently, Insurgent Theatre was given the opportunity to work on the fifth Act of King Lear for an edgy experimental production of the play at the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis. This Saturday, that Act and an approximation of the rest of the play will be presented by the Insurgents at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View. Sitting in the position on a schedule where BERZERK!!! would normally be, Insurgent is referring to THIS show as LEARZERK!!!

The show opens with Monika Wahlberg presenting the entire first 4 acts of the play . . . in ten minutes. She will be aided by the cast of the show presumably miming the events Wahlberg will be describing. Sounds like fun.

Then the show switches gears to present two different versions of the fifth act as written by two different playwrights. Jason Hames and Tim Chrapko, both having only just read the first four acts or the first time, will have come up with entirely different endings. Sounds Weird.

The show then switches gears with a staged reading of the fifth act as written by Shakespeare himself . . .

which would normally be a likely candidate for the single most traditional thing Insurgent has ever done . . . but under the circumstances of the rest of the program, might prove to be exquisitely disorienting.

Finally, local audiences will have an opportunity to see Insurgent’s “meta-theatre interrogation,” of the fifth act for the tragedy as performed in Minneapolis.

A Quick re-cap:

King Lear Acts 1-4,
Then 4 different performances of the fifth act.

All in all, it sounds like a very fun evening.

Insurgent Theatre’s LEARZERK!!! Runs one night only June 20th at 8pm at the Alchemist Theatre.


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