King Lear is a Shakespearian tragedy which introduces two fathers: King Lear, who has three daughters, and the Earl of Gloucester who has two sons. King Lear, the aging monarch of Britain, announces a plan to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. When asked to show their love of their father, his eldest daughters played along saying what he wanted to hear while his youngest daughter who truly loved him refused to say anything. This resulted in the banishment of the youngest while the eldest two split the kingdom. The eldest daughters turn on their father leaving him without a place to stay and struggling in a storm. At this point, Lear is going mad with rage from the way he has been treated by his daughters.
Meanwhile, the younger son concocts a plan to show that his elder brother is untrustworthy and has plans to kill their father and take over his inheritance. On the run, the elder brother disguises himself and befriends the King. With a plan between the youngest daughter and the King to take back the kingdom, there is misplaced trust that results in their capture and order of execution. As with any Shakespearian tragedy, a series of deaths ends the play as others are left with the weight of the tragedy.
In the summer of 1973, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks opened for their first season. At the time the company was comprised of students and community members under the direction of Dr. Bruce Jacobsen. The first season featured 13 performances in 7 Montana communities.
Today, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has become a mainstay of Montana summers, catering to the entire state of Montana in addition to regional performances in North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington.
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks continues to operate with the mission to “engage and enrich both rural and underserved communities with professional productions of Shakespeare and other classics and, through educational outreach, to inspire creative expression and appreciation of the arts in young audiences.”
For more information, and to see Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ complete touring schedule, please visit https://shakespeareintheparks.org.
Montana Western’s School of Outreach has brought Montana Shakespeare in the Parks to the Dillon community since 1986 and is a local sponsor of the event. We would like to thank our premier local sponsor, Pioneer Federal Savings & Loan, and our additional local sponsors: McIsaac Appraisal, Quality Inn of Dillon, and the UMW Foundation. For more information, please contact Bethanie Wharton by calling 406-683-7308 or email [email protected].