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Flatter Gets You Nowhere 

The madness of an election year

Shakespeare's King Lear opens with a seemingly easily solved problem: Lear's three daughters (Goneril, Regan and Cordelia) must only tell their father how much they love him in order to receive their inheritances. Goneril and Regan falsely profess great love and receive everything, while Cordelia refuses to flatter her father and is cast out. What follows is the blinding of a good man, the madness of King Lear, the death of Cordelia and the near-ruination of the kingdom. You also get some of Shakespeare's most powerful and evocative language, but there's no escaping the carnage that accompanies this bungled transfer of political power. Heady stuff for an election year, no doubt, and an excellent choice for the second installment of the St. Louis Political Theatre Festival. St. Louis Shakespeare presents King Lear at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (August 15 through 24), with a special 7:30 p.m. show on Thursday, August 21, at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-534-1111 or www.metrotix.com). Tickets are $10 to $22.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 15. Continues through Aug. 24, 2008

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