The Adaptability of the Plays

King Leir

As you will see from the SQM doubling chart for King Leir (download pdf, download Excel doc) , it was possible to perform this play with 12 actors simply by reducing the number of supernumerary characters. The characters that were cut from our production can be found at the bottom of the doubling chart. The lack of two actors reduced the degree of pageantry and spectacle that we were able to deliver in this production - one might especially bemoan the loss of the two half-naked men that accompany the two half-naked women in the text of the final battle - but no line had to be cut from play. The Gallian king was forced to address his battle call to the audience in the absence of any French soldiers and the battle scenes were a little sparse in relation to what we could achieve with Famous Victories. The significance and effect of certain scenes were also reduced by the lack of supernumeraries because public scenes were turned into private family matters - scene 10 in which Leir is first confronted by the hatred of Gonorill is a good example.

The new doubling, however, did not significantly increase the need for speedy costume changes. The battle sequence was a quick-change ordeal for Scott Clarkson who played a Watchman and Cambria, and David Kynaston who played the First English Captain and the Chief of the Town, but the same would have been true for Actor 3, Actor 7 and Actor 11 in McMillin and MaClean’s doubling (download pdf, download Excel doc). While the smaller company did have an impact on the performance, we were still able to adapt this play for a cast of twelve quickly and without cutting any lines.