King Lear takes to the stage — Montana Shakespeare in the Parks celebrates 50 years

Marga Lincoln for the Independent Record

For the first time ever Montana Shakespeare in the Parks performs “King Lear” as part of its 50th anniversary season.

It’s paired with one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, “Twelfth Night.”

In Helena, MSiP performs “Twelfth Night,” Monday, Aug. 1; and “King Lear,” Tuesday, Aug. 2. Both shows are free and start at 6 p.m. at Anchor Park, adjacent to Lewis & Clark Library (see sidebar for details).

Performing the demanding role of the arrogant and aging Lear is veteran Montana actor John Hosking, who toured years ago with MSIP and also co-founded Vigilante Theatre Company.

On a very toasty 96-degree day in Pocatello, Idaho, Hosking took time to talk on the phone about Lear.

“I was not a student of Lear in any way.” Unlike some actors who’ve focused on some day playing Lear – the role found him.

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And it couldn’t be more fitting. Hosking was an MSIP tour actor in 1974, its second year of productions, and again in 1982.

This Lear production has a Western flavor and flair.

Rather than setting the play in ancient Britain, executive artistic director Kevin Asselin chose to

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