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Drama Professor Fred Curchack Reigns on Stage as King Lear

Fred Curchack as King Lear

Fred Curchack, UT Dallas drama professor, plays the title role in Shakespeare Dallas' production of “King Lear.” (Photo by Linda Blas/Shakespeare Dallas)

UT Dallas drama professor Fred Curchack is starring in the titular role of Shakespeare Dallas’ production of “King Lear” alongside teaching courses on performing the English playwright’s works.

Curchack knows the play inside and out. Having already experienced it in every medium, Curchack has taught the subject matter to undergraduate and graduate students, and he also wrote and produced a two-person play based on the work, “Lear’s Shadow,” in 2000.  But this will be his first time acting in the original play.

“This is the great frontier for any actor as they grow older and hopefully more mature in their craft and their depth as an actor,” Curchack said. “In terms of self-awareness, you remember what the play meant to you many years ago and what it means now. You can see something about your growth or lack of growth.”

Raphael Parry, executive and artistic director for Shakespeare Dallas, has high praise for Curchack. He said the company chose to produce this particular play this season based on Curchack’s availability.

“I have spent the last year collaborating with him in preparing the script and discussing every aspect of the show,” Parry said. “This is a rare chance to see a brilliant performer playing this character and bringing the words of Shakespeare to adrenaline rushing life.”

Curchack said he usually doesn’t start his undergraduate course on Shakespeare with “King Lear,” a work he considers among the most difficult, but he’s decided to coordinate his curriculum with the production.

See ‘King Lear’

Remaining performances of Shakespeare Dallas’ production of “King Lear” will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at Addison Circle Park. Purchase tickets at shakespearedallas.org.

“That’s a bit of a challenge for the students,” he said. “For me, it’s different because the concepts and understanding how Shakespeare is performed and produced are much more challenging when you come to ‘King Lear.’ I’ve timed it so that they can see the play and hear from my experience working on it.”

He said the classes are open to students who want to use Shakespeare’s work to develop their acting, as well as people who want to study them from a scholarly perspective.

“It’s a pretty wide-ranging thing, but I do introduce them to the principles of speaking the text,” he said. “Even if they don’t want to act, it makes them sensitive to hearing the text and understanding the musicality, which the really good actors are able to bring to the words.”

Curchack said he’s sharing the stage with some of Dallas’ top theater teachers. During rehearsals for the show, he said there was often lively discussions about differing interpretations of the work.

It’s rare to be with so many knowledgeable people who have such informed and ferocious opinions about the work,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to kick these ideas around.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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