STRATFORD-UPON-AVON - In this town along the banks of the river Avon, a man spends his days sitting at his dining table, brooding. He drinks endless cups of coffee. The only time he gets up from the table is to make a fresh pot, and at bedtime.
If there is a guiding light to his life, it is only the faint glimmer of what today we would call paranoia. For this man is King Lear. He spends his day writing and re-writing his will. He endlessly ponders on how to divide his estate, for he is consumed with but one question: Which of my daughters hates me the most?
He looks up at his daughters' portraits hanging on the wall, across from the dining table. Goneril, who looks out harshly from her portrait, is the same in person. Regan, whose portrait's countenance reflects her real life, has cold eyes. And then there is Cordelia's portrait, painted in pleasing soft pastels. King Lear wonders, is her portrait a reflection of her persona, or is it the vision of the man who painted it? King Lear thinks for a moment: Does it have that soft focus look because the artist needed reading glasses?
He finishes his coffee, gets up, and walks across the kitchen to make yet another pot. When he lights the burner, the flame casts a warm, brownish illumination on his face. Could this glow also light up his life? Perhaps his face is glowing because he got too near the burner.
He thinks about his sons-in-law. The Duke of Albany has a nice title, but he has never worked a day in his life. Would the Duke divorce Goneril after the estate is settled, and demand half? After all, the Duke's lawyer and friend is that shyster Jonnie Cochran. King Lear mutters under his breath, "That Cochran reminds me of Othello." He drinks more coffee.
King Lear considers the Duke of Cornwall. Even though Regan married him, Lear never liked the Cornish coast, and he intensely disliked his visits there. And the people there were never impressed with his title of King. Lear was always suspicious of his daughter's Cornish Duke. Lear was not happy with the thought of a good portion of his estate ending up in the hands of a Duke from Cornwall. Why, the Duke never even speaks proper English! Lear takes a sip of coffee and thinks, that Duke should have stayed in a tin mine. Then King Lear remembers: The Duke retired early because of a huge class action settlement brought by Melvin Belli. Lear shouts at Regan's portrait, "Belli calls himself the King of Torts, hah! I am the real King!"
Then King Lear looks at Cordelia's pastel portrait, and realizes "That artist really does need glasses." Lear continues to gaze at the portrait. Cordelia is always so distant, and she never married. Lear wonders if she is gay. King Lear knows that if he makes a mistake while he is writing his will, it could well be a fatal error.
He finishes yet one more cup, and sits brooding, waiting for the eleven o'clock news. He always had high regards for the BBC.