Restored and de-restored: killing off Garrick in John Philip Kemble's King Lear

Title: Restored and de-restored: killing off Garrick in John Philip Kemble's King Lear
Author: Krajník, Filip
Source document: Theatralia. 2021, vol. 24, iss. 1, pp. 92-100
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Article

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Nahum Tate's Restoration version of King Lear (1680 or 1681) managed to replace Shakespeare's original on English stages for more than a century and a half. While the efforts of David Garrick and George Colman to reinstate Shakespeare's plot and language in English theatres in the latter half of the eighteenth century have been acknowledged, little has been said in this respect about the late eighteenth-century actor and theatre manager John Philip Kemble and his version of the play that premiered in 1792. The present article will try to propose the possible motivation of Kemble's step to discard Garrick's popular alteration and will also argue that the decision to erase Garrick's restorations and recur essentially to Tate's outmoded version of the play at the end of the eighteenth century was probably one of the factors that helped to restore Shakespeare's original in English theatres when King Lear was revived in the 1820s after a decade-long hiatus.
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