I have advised producers of Shakespeare that Shakespeare does not much require their editorial assistance or innovation, and that the wisest thing for the truly ambitious producer to do is to stay out of the way. The new production of King Lear under the direction of Michael Grandage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music takes that to heart, offering a case study in magnificent minimalism: Other than a few necessary bits—a map of the partitioned kingdom, a couple of swords and personal effects—there is hardly a prop to be found on the stage, which contains not a single piece of scenery. The action unfolds against a background of winter-white birch, while the characters are clad in black robes of clerical cut. Minimalism can be, perversely enough, showy—I have in mind the New York Theatre Workshop’s production of The Little Foxes—but here we have minimalism of the other sort: the art of doing just...

 
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