The Morton Players’ production of
Unfortunately, the show does not have the chilling shock-factor that is needed to leave a lasting impression.
The fault in this show does not lie with the performers. All five actors are very talented and they do a great job with their characters. Sophie Stemmons as the Fool does an especially good job: she is consistently energetic and bouncy, cheerfully interacting with the crowd and not letting their response impact her performance. I particularly enjoyed the way she mimics the sick queen as all three daughters crowd around her, hounding her with questions. But what this production lacks is clear direction to bring the message of the piece to life.
A show that primarily focuses on the development of character needs to pay attention to every detail, from inclinations in the voice to costume. All of the cast wore theatrical black skins with an item of clothing such as a skirt or a coat to represent a character. But in a production that is so driven by strong, well-rounded characters, it needs to show us a realistic figure, not a representation of a figure. This costume only works for the Fool who does play multiple characters throughout the show. We could not identify with the three daughters while they were so obviously representing themselves as performers and not real people.
Another issue is in the set. Three large strips of bright pink material are used to represent staircases, bridal veils and a whole manner of items and locations. However, combined with the glaringly pink items of clothing, we begin to wonder if this is an ironic symbol of the girls' childhood. Maybe this is the case, but it is in no way made clear by the characters casting off the illusion of a happy childhood at the end.
Lear's Daughters tries to make a powerful impact through its set, costume, and various emotional outbursts of shouting and screaming. Unfortunately, the show does not have the chilling shock-factor that is needed to leave a lasting impression.