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A king of KC theater takes on Shakespeare’s great king — and then steps aside

Shakespeare’s King Lear is the theatrical equivalent of an Olympic decathlon.

UMKC Theatre's Theodore Swetz

Lear may be the most challenging role in the English-speaking theater, one that takes prickly concepts of vanity, loss and madness and pushes them about as far as they can go.

“Of all the roles I’ve done, this is the most demanding,” said Theodore Swetz, who will play the mad king in the Kansas City Actors Theatre production starting Friday, Oct. 13, in Spencer Theatre as a co-production with UMKC Theatre.

“It’s a sustained assault on the mind and body. At the same time it’s fun. Terrific fun.”

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