Arts·Video

We asked regular people to do Shakespeare's King Lear on the street

Christopher Plummer and Colm Feore do Shakespeare. So can you. CBC Arts asked regular people to do Shakespeare's King Lear. Watch the video and share your version of the famous "Blow winds" speech with us.

Christopher Plummer and Colm Feore do Shakespeare. So do they. Watch!

Shakespeare is meant to be read. So in honour of CBC's presentation of the Stratford Festival's HD films of three of the Bard's finest outings, we asked Canadians to try their hand at one of the finest soliloquies from King Lear. 1:20

Christopher Plummer does Shakespeare. So do Claire Danes and Judi Dench and Tom Hiddleston and pretty much every actor you can name. 

If you made it through high-school English, you've done Shakespeare, too. But have you revisited Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet or anything by the Bard since you were memorizing the definition of "iambic pentameter?" 

If the idea of it just gives you bad flashbacks to pop quizzes and Spark Notes, take it from Colm Feore, who stars in the Stratford Festival production of King Lear. (You can watch that play any time, by the way, on CBC Arts.)

"Listen. It's not that hard," Feore told CBC News. "It's certainly not as hard as you think it is. And it's not overwhelming. It's emotionally simple and straightforward.

"It's just. People. Talking."

That, by the way, is exactly what you'll find in the video above. We asked regular people to do Shakespeare, one of the most famous passages from the tragedy King Lear.

The scene? Toronto street corners and office cubicles, standing in for an English heath. Enter Lear. The elderly ruler, betrayed by his daughters, has lost his fortune and his kingdom. He's fled, and is now lost in the wilderness — where a storm begins to blow, a tempest matched by the turmoil raging within him.

As Feore says, "Shakespeare is beautiful, and it's heart-wrenching or elevating or romantic and it sweeps you away with the rise and crest of it, but it's actually not a foreign language."

Watch full Stratford Festival productions including King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra on CBC Arts. King John airs Sunday, Sept. 27 on CBC TV at 3pm (3:30NT). The plays are part of a 10-year Stratford Festival project, one that will see the Canadian company film Shakespeare's entire canon in HD.

How do you do Shakespeare? Share your take with CBC Arts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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