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King Leir : The Sudden Banquet

Introduction

This staging puzzle comes from Scene 24 of King Leir. Cordella, her husband the King of France and his friend Mumford are taking a walk in the country disguised as commoners when they encounter King Leir and his friend Perillus, who are close to death from starvation. Read the text and ask yourself how it might be staged. Take note of all the references to food, drink and the specific mention of a table. When you have finished analyzing the text, go to the next page

Questions

The scene implies that Leir and Perrilus sit at a table and eat but where does the food come from? There is also a specific reference in the stage directions to a table. How does the table get on stage? Or was it on stage all the time? The meal is referred to as a banquet. Does this indicate that there is a large table with a lot of food? Or is it simply that to the starving Perillus the small amount of food on offer seems like a banquet? How would you stage this scene and satisfy the majority of the stage directions? Is there actually a table on stage? Where does the food come from?

Write out your own suggestions before proceeding to the next page.

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