Recent Productions

King Lear

Cohen has directed three productions of this most powerful of Shakespearean tragedies.

Review Excerpts

at UCI, 1989

“RADICAL REVELATION. UC Irvine’s smashing version,… conceived and directed by Robert Cohen, is a radical reconception that clarifies… . Shakespeare’s great tragedy moves swiftly and incisively, and for all its highly theatrical unorthodoxies, it traces with singular intensity the classic arc of Lear laid low.” —Los Angeles Times

“BEST PLAY OF THE YEAR,” “BEST DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR,” —solo awards, Los Angeles Times (year-end wrap-up).

“SEETHING LEAR. Powerful and articulate;… a “Lear” that reaches for both the heart and the throat,…
Cohen strips the script to its visceral core, giving his actors a more significant adversarial relationship…
If you see one “King Lear” in your lifetime, the UCI production is the one to experience and savor.” —Daily Pilot.

“BEST DIRECTION OF THE YEAR: Orange County Register (with two others, year end wrap-up)
“Were there not real-world reminders that this is indeed UCI – the familiar parking mess, the sterile architecture – we might mistake the site for some major theatrical center, so enlightening is Cohen’s staging, and so persuasive is his cast. Knight’s Lear is a revelation… Time itself flies imperceptibly in this resonant production.” —Orange County Register

at Utah Shakespearean Festival, 1999
“****THE CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT AT FESTIVAL… [The] stark, spare, dramatically urgent interpretation… provides a particularly piercing exploration of the conflicts and frailties that engulf us all, whether in Shakespeare’s day or our own… Cohen displays his mastery… plunging us into the mud and blood along with Lear as he scrambles to find his way through the maddening maze of life… . The crowning achievement of this season’s three Shakespeare productions.” —Las Vegas Review Journal

“Cohen’s adeptly staged interpretation of this massive work perplexes with its questions and startles with its horror… Cohen’s production is graced with seamless technical artistry that supports every action and nuance of his gifted acting ensemble.” —Salt Lake Tribune

“King Lear, one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, is bar none the best show at this year’s Utah Shakespearean Festival. An exciting, enthralling story of familial love and personal ambition.” —Provo Daily Herald

at Colorado Shakespeare Festival, 1986

“**** (four stars) Stunningly theatrical, a play that can keep the audience at the edge of its seat while the action races headlong toward its terminus. Brilliant set… superbly lighted… sparklingly clear… —Denver Post.

“Dudley Knight gives a magnificent performance… remarkable staging…, the audience was leaning forward spellbound as Knight led a talented cast through a timeless play.” —Boulder Camera

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