Breaking down boundaries by presenting ‘King Lear’ in Gwich’in

Alaska Dispatch: King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies. It’s been translated into scores of languages, performed countless ways by thousands of different actors. But odds are it’s never been done in Gwich’in — a sub-dialect of the Athabascan language.

Enter “Lear Khehkwaii” (pronounced “heck-why-ee”), an abridged version of the Shakespearean tragedy that embraces the Gwich’in language and culture.

Director Tom Robenolt decided to collaborate with Allan Hayton — an actor and native Gwich’in speaker from Arctic Village – to bring the version to schools and communities across the state as part of a language revitalization project.

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