King Lear

Almeida Theatre – 2024

In Shakespeare most tragic play, Lear, father and king of unquestioned power, must divide his realm between his three daughters. The first two declare the love he is desperate to hear, yet the youngest Cordelia shuns the performative circus. “Nothing” she answers, when asked to speak. And towards that nothing Lear’s world begins to slide.

 Inspired by a reference of costume designer Camilla Dely’s, I came up with the idea to shoot Lear holding three fingers in front of his face:
– Two fingers adorned with beautiful silver rings, stand for Goneril and Regan, to who Lear bestows his kingdom
– The little finger with a simple band, stands for youngest daughter Cordelia, the daughter stripped of her inheritance

The artwork shows Danny Sapani one hand over his eye – which can be read as either Lear’s holding his head as he descends into madness, or as Lear’s hiding his eye, as he is blind to his children’s deceit (the other father of the play, Gloucester, gets more literally blinded – his eyes gouged out – after his own son’s betrayal).

Photography (Danny Sapani) by Sebastian Nevols