‘Larry’ by Henry Hudson based on the play ‘King Lear’ by William Shakespeare
“I’ve listened to the King Lear (Larry) recording and it’s a very valuable and accessible resource for students who may struggle with Shakespeare’s text or with literacy in general. It captures the spirit of the play’s main characters and themes, and could be used in Transition Year as a preparatory text for Leaving Cert. The teaching resources and worksheets are excellent and the site is very easy to navigate.”
- – Allyson Prizeman, English Teacher, Mount Temple Comprehensive Secondary school, Dublin 3
Larry (Lear) is a widower with three daughters, Geraldine (Goneril), Rita (Regan) and Cecilia(Cordelia). Geraldine and Rita matter him until he signs over his affairs to them. Cecilia never matters him but shows her love by looking after his every need although he barely notices or appreciates her. One night Larry, who is in hospital, berates Cecilia who runs away in tears. In the early hours Spirit/The Fool shows Larry his dead body lying in his hospital bed. Hours later Rita and Geraldine arrive in the morgue. They discuss a funeral. Larry presumes it is his. He insists on going to the funeral. It is huge. He is ecstatic until it emerges that it is Cecilia’s funeral. He learns that while running from the hospital she was hit by a car. Larry is devastated, but worse is to come. Spirit shows him Rita and Geraldine planning to ‘dispose’ of him with a cheap, quick cremation and he discovers that his late wife instructed he was not to be buried with her. Spirit finally takes him to the Crossroads of Life. One road is warm and sunny, the other cold, dark and punishing. Larry knows he must take the latter route. Spirit places the broken body of Cecilia in Larry’s arms. He will carry her until he can finally forgive himself for his blindness and pride.
Classroom Resources for Larry, based on King Lear
The plays are accompanied by a series of resources including all worksheets and are intended to be used either as an introduction to, or revision tool for, the play on which it is based. During the period of study, students are encouraged to use their critical faculties to explore the plot, themes,and characters.
The plays were written by experienced, award-winning, local Dublin playwrights in conjunction with English teachers. Larry (based on King Lear) and McBen (based on Macbeth) are intended for TY or Leaving Cert students while The Ghosts of Priory Hall (based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream) is intended for a Junior Cycle or TY group. However, all plays are suitable for any English classroom depending on the age and stage of the learners.
The worksheets require the students to consider the play in its own right but for those classes who have already read the original play, there is is also scope for the class to compare and contrast it with the contemporary re-writing, thus also preparing them for the comparative section of Leaving Cert English Paper II. In addition, there are personal writing activities provided which encourage students to think creatively about Shakespeare’s works.
The lessons have been designed to ensure maximum flexibility for a classroom. There is a sufficient choice in activities to allow a teacher to use this with students of all levels. The worksheets are self-explanatory for the student and teacher and are broken down into three stages; pre-listening, active listening and post-listening activities.
There is enough work for approximately 5-10 periods of around forty minutes.