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When tragedy strikes two old friends, they find an unlikely path to recovery through Shakespeare's King Lear

Lear’s Shadow is a new independent film that puts audiences in the middle of a simple story of friendship and loss. The story begins in the days following an accident, as two good friends from a modern-day theater company cope with a shared loss and repair their troubled relationship. As the two friends navigate their grief and friendship, they turn their frustration with each other into an argument about Shakespeare’s King Lear, acting out scenes to prove their points. Lear’s Shadow is at its heart a story that suggests unflinchingly that the solution to many of life’s problems can be found in friendship and art.


The film’s three stars, David Blue (“Eli Wallace” from Stargate: Universe, and “Cliff St. Paul” from Ugly Betty), Fred Cross (American Crime,The Last Ship, The Office), and newcomer Katie Peabody quickly pivot between Shakespeare’s original language and modern colloquial, written by the film’s director, Brian Elerding. Lear’s Shadow features plenty of Shakespeare, but is accessible to both the Shakespeare fan and skeptic. The film is now available on iTunes and Amazon.

Starring: David Blue, Fred Cross & Katie Peabody

Written and directed by Brian Elerding

the film
The facts
The mission


An intimate play about friendship, family, and empathy goes worldwide

Writer/director Brian Elerding was asked about the original play at a talkback, and had this to say about the film's purpose: 

I was working on the beginnings of Lear's Shadow as we were wrapping up production on Shakespeare's Rose Queen. It was a beautiful play, but very sad, and very complex. I really yearned to work on a simple story about the love between friends.

Beyond that, I really think that these days art has a responsibility to model empathy for society, and so this was the perfect chance to do that without being heavy-handed. 

Lastly, I thought it would be really quite poignant to take King Lear, one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, and turn it into a story that begins at tragedy and ends at the start of new hope. 



Shakespeare's King Lear meets

the Ensemble's Artistic Director Brian Elerding

•Began as a play, produced at the Lineage Performing Arts Center in Pasadena in April and May of 2017.

•Features entire scenes from King Lear, acted out by David Blue and Fred Cross. At one point, David Blue plays all three daughters to Fred Cross' King Lear. 
•Takes place in real time.

•Made possible in part by the City of Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, and by the Nancy E. Barton Foundation.

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