King Lear


Big Flat Bugs



                                                                                    Big flat bugs

Signs (speech balloons):

Hello                                                                                                    electronic (mantis)

            Hello                                                                                        wooden (beetle)

Play a game with me                                                                             electronic

            What game?                                                                             wooden

The game of Kings                                                                                elect

            OK                                                                                          wood

Cordelia, do your best                                                                          elect

            Edmund, do your worst                                                            wood

[both]   Let the play begin


Dividing the Kingdom


Chuck:             Hello, hello, I’m Chuck Meese, and I’m here to talk with you about entomology, the study of insects.  Did you know that there are many more kinds of insects on earth than any other kind of living creature?  95% of all the animal species on the earth are insects! Millions of insects can exist in a single acre of land!  Like for instance on an acre of Central Park, just over there! Millions of them, all insects!  All different, all with their own opinions, all running around, getting up to who-knows-what!

I’m here to talk to you about one insect in particular – King Lear; here he comes now.


                                                                                    Lear long entrance


Lear Asst:  Tremble, miserable mammal, before the great King Lear!


Chuck:   How do you do;  I am a passing entomologist, engaged upon a study of territoriality in the Coleoptera, and I am most interested in the genera, species, and phylogenetic relationships of yourself and this clade


Lear Asst: Lear is Here!

[shouts]  We demand food, drink, and shelter!

                                                                                    Umbrella, lounge chair, etc.

                                                                                    FAST run in


Theresa:  Ooo,  Lear is here…..  trouble in the family, I can see it coming…..

Chuck:  And who are you?

Theresa:  Ooo, me, I’m just a friend of the family, some of them;  some of them are the sweetest most darling Polyphaga ever to wear spots, and some are just the most blood-sucking army ants ever known to man, I’m telling you!

                                                                                    Lear space set up

Lear Asst:  That’s better….adequate

                                                                                    lear’s drummer accompanies?

I have the honor to represent his most splendid resplendency,  King Lear, at the pinnacle of  power, and the apex of augustness,  magnate of the insect kingdom hereabout, ruler of the vacant lots of New York, Sultan of the swamps of New Jersey,  Lord of the lawns of Connecticut. [to Chuck] Would you happen to have a fuitfly on you?  Or maybe some grass?


His Majesty has directed me to issue the following statement:


Lear Asst:  Know that we have divided                         Lear lip-synchs

in three our kingdom, and tis our fast intent

to shake all cares and business from our age,

conferring them on younger strengths, while we

unburdened crawl toward death.  … Tell me, my daughters –

which of you shall we say doth love us most.

Goneril, our eldest born, speak first.

                                                                                    Goneril in long walk in, main dance

                                                                                    Connecticut music under speech

Chuck:  My goodness, what is that?

Theresa:  Now, dear, let me explain this…. you’re going to get a chance to study some territoriality!  He’s finally doing it! He’s going to break up the kingdom!  There’s three sisters, and every sister will get a third of a kingdom !  Goneril there is in charge of the army, navy, air force, and the merchant marine, and lately she’s taken over the police, the schools and the library as well, a very respectable girl, to be sure……..

Chuck: An army ant, evidently…


[when Gonerils gets there]                                             music pause

Goneril Asst:

My client has issued the following statement: 

                                                                                    Goneril lip-synchs

I shall implement all pragmatic and appropriate action to assess each level of threat, and ever maintain a critical dynamic towards substantiative progress in maintaining a firm security zone around you, dear father.

Regard me as a creditable source.


Lear Asst: Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,                      

With shadowy forests and with champlains riched,

With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,

We make thee lady. 

                                                                                                music resume

Theresa:  That would be Connecticut.  We’ll have security up the wazoo, now.


                                                                        GONERIL STAYS


                                                                                    Regan in long walk in, main dance

                                                                                                N Jersey music                       

Theresa:  That’s Regan.  She’s in charge of the markets.    She makes sure that stocks stay up and taxes stay down,      that stock options stay open.   Watch your wallet around her…..

Chuck:  That’s a mosquito, all right.


[when Regan gets there]                                                            music pause

Lear Asst:  What says our second daughter?


Regan Asst:      My client declares:

I will ever maintain revenue synergy and critical dynamic in the private sector; excess capacity utilization will maintain your market share and revenue until we achieve positive cash flow.

Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie, I want it, I want it, I want it!


Lear: To thee and thine hereditary ever             

Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,

Theresa:  That would be New Jersey….

                                                                                                music resume

                                                            REGAN STAYS

                                                            GONERIL AND REGAN HUDDLE WITH ASSTS


And now for my honey! Cordelia, baby!

                                                                                    Cordelia in


Theresa:  Come along, darling….Oh shake a leg, you ladybug, do, quit that lollygagging and loitering you noodlehead………Now, you have to understand my sweety… she’s darling, but she’s different……. Get a grip! I’m not going back to Dubeque, so speak up on the dime, girl!  We want a kingdom too!


Lear Asst:  .Now, our joy,……

What can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sisters?  Speak.

                                                                                    music big build, sudden silence

Cordelia: “……..”                                                        long pause

Teresa:  No, no, wait, she can talk, come on, my……[  ] open that mouth and eloqute!


Lear: Nothing will come of nothing.  Speak again.

                                                                                    music big build, sudden silence

Cordelia:  ………..                                                      long long  pause

Theresa:  Don’t you do this to me! 


Lear Asst:  Let it be so.  Thy truth, then, be thy dower.

Here I disclaim all my paternal care,

Propinquity, and property of blood,

And as a stranger to my heart and me

Hold thee from this forever.

                                                                        Lear into audience


Theresa:           That Mugwump!  Well she’s just a poor bitty [aggravating, cantankerous] ladybug, what’s she supposed to say? Banishing my sweet spotty honey!  Where’s she supposed to go, I want to know?

But wait, hey, sweetie, you got wings, you can fly, now spread those wings, now!

We’re flying over the Hudson!

                                                                        Cordelia out


Edmund and Sisters


                                                                                    terrible noise

                                                                        Edmund in 

                                                                        Dony following closely

                                                                                    fight music, creepy, continues

Chuck:  What on earth is that?

Dony:   This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbit.  He begins at curfew and walks till the first cock. 

Chuck:  Who are you?

Dony:  Mad Tom

Chuck:  You are not!

Dony:  Am too!

Chuck:  I know that voice, you’re Professor Higginbothem.

Dony: Am not!

Chuck:  I heard you read your seminal work on predacious camouflage in insects at the Icelandic conference……

Dony:  Sshh!    Don’t blow my cover!



Dony:  I am in disguised as an irrational insect in order to safely study this hitherto unknown twisted-wing parasite, Edmund.  It will undoubtedly proceed to entice these females and steal their territory, for such is its method of operation.

Chuck:  So you’re also researching the interactions among the insects in this area?

Dony:  All my research is fully protected by copyright!


                                                                        Edmund dances with Goneril and Regan

                                                                        ending up in a turning huddle

                                                                        King Lear and entourage sets up

                                                                                    fanfare stops music

                                                                        huddle turns to Lear



Lear Asst:  Ahem!  We have come to visit our daughters! [to Chuck] Sir, does it strike you that they are acting oddly?                                                              

Chuck: Let us investigate this phenomenon.

Dony:  Are you sure it’s safe?              


                                                                        sisters chanting

Goneril Asst:    terrorist capabilities!

Regan Asst:      speculative fervor!

Goneril Asst:    flagrant violation!

Regan Asst:    impermissible retrogression!


                                                          advance on Lear, repeating chant


Lear Asst:  How sharper than the serpents tooth

It is to have a thankless child – Away, away!


                                                          Lear into audience

                                                                        sisters and Edmund out crazily


Lear and the storm

Dony:  The weather report!

Chuck:   The weather report?

Dony:   I don’t like the look of it!  

Chuck: The barometer is falling!

Dony:  This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbit!  Bless thee from whirlwinds, star-blasting, and taking! Poor Tom’s a-cold!

Chuck:  It’s going to be a heck of a storm.


                                                                        Birds in

                                                                        Bird Dance

                                                                        swoop down on Lear encampment

                                                                        Lear left with only I Asst.


Cordelia is found by the Press


                                                                                    newsroom sound and whistle

fly Interview                                                     

Theresa speaks for Cordelia

ending with:  And how do you feel about the disaster which has overtaken your father, King Lear?

YES, Cordelia will rescue her father, King Lear

                                                                                    rescue music


                                                            CORDELIA STAYS, RUNS IN PLACE


Dony:  And now, observe, all the insects involved will now consider the territory theirs, attempting to expel all the others.

Chuck:  Most interesting and informative.

                                                                                    ant/mosquito music

                                                                        Regan and Goneril in


Dony:  My research paper on this interaction will be the sensation of the endoparasite conference!

Chuck:  Oh, really!                                                      

                                                          Goneril and Regan circle each other


Cordelia rescues Lear


                                                            MOVES TO SCREAMS ?


                                                                        Lear onto stage, sisters attack

Lear Asst:  Help, help!

                                                                        Cordelia to him

                                                                        Assts attack Cordelia   


                                                                        Opera singer steps out of Cordelia, sings aria


                                                                        Leads Lear out


                                                                        Jan, 3 knocks, point to back

                                                                                    big bug noise

                                                                        Gold bug in, scroll to Chuck

                                                                                    music in gradually

Chuck:    Goneril, and Regan:  for your misdeeds, which have brought sorrow to so many,  The Emperor of the Insects sentences you to work a nine-to-five job, to take the subway, to wash your own dishes and sweep your own floors, and to pay all your taxes and parking tickets, from now on, henceforth, forever!  And furthermore, there shall be not more kings!


                                                                                    slightly down for poem

Step from your chrysalis, and, preening, stay

To let your wings dry in the summer air

Soon the city’s breath will take you where

You can look down to find your way

Dance in the updrafts, scrabble, fight, play                                                        

Trust nature’s hand to send the wind to bear

You up, and find you gleaming gold to wear.

You shine!  You glitter in the burning day.


The air is filled with lives as small as mites

And large as worlds.  They live as high

As the tallest tower.  They long for lights

and pleasures too.  Their short lives exemplify

The need to reach for unimaginable heights.

So stand, lift golden wings, and fly.