Slings and Arrows

Season 3 Episode 1

Divided Kingdom

Aired Unknown Jul 24, 2006 on The Movie Network

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Success comes to the New Burbage festival, but can everyone handle it? Season 3 starts off great by showing the company in a new situation where they call the shots. In the background : the ultimate creative challenge of "King Lear".

    Seasons 1 & 2 of this show just sweep you in, and if you're like me you'd probably be content to just see more and more of Geoffrey and Ellen's on-again-off-again love life, of Richard showing us the comic paradox of art and commerce, of Oliver's ghostly direction, and another underdog festival company crafting drama and meaning against all odds. But season 3 promises to show more, and now I'm swept in more than ever. Our heroes have it all now -- money, acclaim, the space and license to put on the plays they want, the way they want. But with the letup of stress comes a surprise -- without stress to drive you forward, how do you create? We see the characters alone with themselves, each grappling in different ways with the question: What next?

    Artistic Director Geoffrey feels it the worst, and his manhood is literally shaken. Lead Actress Ellen seems to thrive on the attention and success, but beneath her flirtatious facade she's as lost and fearful as Geoffrey. Richard has the simplest problem -- its clearer than ever he's just a bean-counter -- though "a good bean-counter". Where does he find meaning in what he does? There is so much that Richard has "taken too little care of..."

    "Lear" is the greatest tragedy, and the most human tragedy. All the ingredients are there for Lear's themes of despairing madness, blindness and ingratitude to be mirrored by the off-stage story arc, just as we saw Hamlet's affected madness in Geoffrey's return in season 1, and Geoffrey-as-witch manipulating Henry Breedlove as Macbeth.

    But for all the gory doings of Hamlet and Macbeth, we never saw their tragic scenes on-screen. The opening episode of season 3 sends the message we will see tragedy head-on, whether in Gloucester's blinding, or in the flaws of aged, unlikely Lear Charles Kingman.

    The final season has begun, and I don't think we will be disappointed.