William Shakespeare's King Lear: Film production by Richard Eyre or Michael Elliott?.
King Lear today rivals Hamlet as the most frequently performed William Shakespeare play. King Lear is a timeless tale of human greed, lust for power and lost loyalties.
Directors" Richard Eyre and Michael Elliott have produced two distinctively different film adaptations of Shakespeare's play King Lear. Richard Eyre's King Lear production aired on television in 1998 and earned Ian Holm the 1997 Olivier Award of the Society of London Theatre.
Eyre's production is an adventure into minimalism. He uses film construction techniques to create a central theme drawn from the ideals presented by Shakespeare in the original play. Its evident through the use of setting, the framing of certain shots and costuming that Eyre is focusing on a nihilistic and slightly feminist reading of King Lear.
Costuming as an important element of characterisation. Through costuming, Eyre explores the idea that there is no purpose in good or evil by dressing the characters Regan in white, usually representing goodness, Gonerill in black, predominately used to portray evil, and Cordelia in brown, a simple colour that doesn't have much personality, throughout the last act.
This is in contrast with the way Michael Elliott uses costuming and lighting to portray Cordelia as moral goodness and makes a link with Gonerill and Regan to the ugly stepsisters depicted in Cinderella. This interpretation of costuming is influenced by the audience's prior knowledge of the fairy tale Cinderella; therefore, Elliott is also using context to portray meaning.
The nihilistic approach that Eyre has chosen to take is represented through the use of simple props and bare settings. Eyre has set the last scene in a white room, creating the feeling of emptiness by using dim lighting to form harsh shadows starting at the corners of the room, which eventually take over the room and it becomes very dark and expressionless.