In the absence of King Lear, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan search for a sovereign in the audience whilst creating a feminist version of the classic text. Premiered at Cankarjev Dom Culture Centre in Ljubljana, King Lear by Jurišić and Rusjan aims to find out whether sincerity is a matter of the body rather than of the words.

© Matija Lukić

© Matija Lukić

The last Champion of Yugoslavia in artistic gymnastics, Leja Jurišić (Ljubljana, SI) collaborated with Tim Etchells and Meg Stuart and created a series of critically acclaimed pieces. Her works have been shown at Tanzquartier Wien, Hellerau Dresden, Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, BiennaleOnline Art+ New York, Les Subsistances Lyon, and ]performance space[ London. 


Dissecting the classical text by employing three women, a balance beam and an audio book, King Lear: A Declaration of Sincere Love reinterprets Shakespeare’s classic dramatic situation through contemporary take on the question of reciprocal love in relation to struggle for power. 

With most of the original characters, including the king himself, absent from the stage, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan put in the limelight their physical take on love, passion, truth, power and possessions. All of these topics are explored not only in relation to personal traits of performers themselves but also in relation to the audience, which to a large degree occupies the position of the sovereign whose devotion the performers are working hard to gain. 

Mixing various archetypes of Western consumerism and contradictory notions of female, feminine and feminist in contemporary capitalist societies, the three performers’ concept of sincere love takes on as many meanings as the expression of sincere love takes forms. 

Can any of these really be sincere though? Can any of these succeed in being sincere while confronting power? And in what way can they pull it off? Through words? 

Words are obviously deceitful, as Shakespeare has shown. What about the body? Is the body, the mere corporeality, as deceitful as words? It’s up to you - the king, the sovereign - to decide. 

Created by Leja Jurišić & Jelena Rusjan
Performed by Leja Jurišić, Jelena Rusjan & Teja Reba
Choreography by Leja Jurišić
Set & Light Design & Costumes by Petra Veber
Music by Drago Ivanuša
Producer: Žiga Predan
Produced by Pekinpah
Coproduced by Cankarjev Dom

Premiere: 22 October 2014, Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, Slovenia