Published on: April 20th, 2023

Hillsdale DC Semester Interns Attend Shakespeare’s King’s Lear at the Shakespeare Theatre Company

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Hillsdale’s Spring 2023 Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) class recently attended a showing of Shakespeare’s King Lear—a tale of intrigue, upheaval, and heart-wrenching betrayal—at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Klein Theatre in Washington, D.C. 

The play follows King Lear, portrayed by Patrick Page, who sets out to divide his kingdom equally among his three daughters – two of them thankless flatterers, and one who sincerely loves him. A misunderstanding between them drives Lear mad, throws his throne into turmoil, and brings his daughters to blows.

Intentionally dwelling on art which edifies the soul is indispensable to a classically liberal education. Dr. Matthew Spalding, the Dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, took students aside to discuss the show’s core themes, reading between the lines to more fully appreciate why King Lear is not only regarded as one of Shakespeare’s finest plays but his greatest political work.

While the Theatre Company’s rendition adopted a modern aesthetic—fitted suits, military fatigues, sirens, and digital effects—the players did justice to the tragedy’s core maxim: “Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest.” Preserved by the Company was Shakespeare’s soul-piercing treatment of honor and fidelity as political forces which the learned statesman would do well to heed.

Meredith Kottom, a junior and George Washington fellow, especially enjoyed Patrick Page’s portrayal: “He did a remarkable job! I could feel his agony over the state of his kingdom.”

Meredith was not alone. Multiple students approached Page for autographs after the performance and will treasure this memory for years to come.

About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 5.7 million. For more information, visit