Outlaws, irreverent humorists, political underdogs, authoritarians - and the silhouette, throughout, of a contemporary Australian woman: these are some of the figures who emerge from Philippa Kelly's extraordinary personal tale, The King and I. Kelly uses Shakespeare's King Lear as it has never been used before - to tell the story of Australia and Australians through the intimate journey she makes with Shakespeare's old king, whose struggles and torments are touchstones for the variety, poignancy and humour of Australian life. We hear the shrieking of birds and feel the heat of dusty towns, and we also come to know about important moments in Australia's social and political landscape: about the evolution of women's rights; about the erosion and reclamation of Aboriginal identity and the hardships experienced by transported settlers; and about attitudes toward age and endurance. At the heart of this book is one woman's personal story, and through this story we come to understand many profound and often hilarious features of the land Down Under.
Philippa Kelly is Resident Dramaturg at the California Shakespeare Theater and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She is also Senior Chair at the Endeavour Foundation. Her research has received the support of the Fulbright, Rockerfeller and Walter and Eliza Hall foundations as well as the Australian Research Council.
Introduction: 'Speak What We Feel, Not What We Ought to Say'; 1. Fathers and Mothers; 2. Twenty Years Have Passed; 3. Playing the Fool; 4. Polemics; 5. The Meaning of Words: Changing the Stage; 6. Age is Unnecessary; 7. The Man as the King, the King in the Man; Bibliography; Index.