But the true horrors of Lear are psychological and existential — how easily human flaws and grievances can spiral into abominations; how quickly a man may be reduced to a feeble, infantile fool, and — the greatest horror of all — how excruciating all of this is for those who must witness. I can count on less than five fingers the number of shows at which I've wept outright, but so I did throughout both acts of Greenham's agonizing production — not least to see Kent's agony in watching Lear, all his life blind to himself, lean over Cordelia's body to finally, far too late, admit his tragedy: "Mine eyes are not the best, I'll tell you straight."

Megan Grumbling can be reached at mgrumbling@hotmail.com.

KING LEAR | by William Shakespeare | Directed by David Greenham | Produced by The Theater at Monmouth | in repertory through August 18 | 207.933.9999

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