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Universitys Shakespeare Under the Stars to perform King Lear
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The CSU Stanislaus production of King Lear stars Jere ODonnell as King Lear and Stuart Pierce as the Fool. The show opens Tuesday in the university amphitheatre. - photo by Photo Contributed

For its sixth season of Shakespeare Under the Stars California State University, Stanislaus’ Theatre Department is staging “King Lear.”

“’King Lear’ is a dark and mystifying tragedy. If you are a fan of ‘Game of Thrones,’ this should be really exciting,” said John Mayer, chair of the Department of Theatre.

Under the direction of Patricia O’Donnell and featuring award-winning theatre professor Jere O’Donnell in the title role, the cast includes professionals, local actors, faculty, alumni and students.


O’Donnell describes the stage design by Eric Broadwater and costume design by Jonathan Singer as fluid and expressionistic, incorporating both modern and historical references.


The text of the play has been condensed, eliminating references to traveling long distances, O’Donnell explained. The result is a shorter overall runtime for the play in addition to a compressed timeline within the story.


“We’ve ratcheted the intensity and rashness of the events by compressing time,” O’Donnell said. “Our hope is that it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.”


This year’s production is being sponsored by Prime Shine Car wash and admission is free.

“Shakespeare Under the Stars is a University event that is on the community’s campus, which makes it a community event,” said Evan Porges, president of Prime Shine. “It will be wonderful to see students and community members of all ages enjoying live theatre under the stars in the amphitheater setting — truly the definition of an enjoyable learning experience for all.”

Shows are set for April 28, 29, and 30 and May 1, 2, and 3. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. Parking in lot 3 is free for the performances. Low back chairs and blankets are allowed, but no alcohol or glass containers.