Our primer for Spring Arts activities highlights events in art, books, dance, theater, classical and pop music, as compiled by Los Angeles Times critics and writers. Posthumous duets, responses to Trump and spotlights on Iceland, Pasadena and Coachella are among the offerings.

Art Theater

How a Pasadena theater troupe builds a future on the past

Geoff Elliott as King Lear and Erika Soto as Cordelia in William Shakespeare's "King Lear" at A Noise Within. (Craig Schwartz)
Geoff Elliott as King Lear and Erika Soto as Cordelia in William Shakespeare's "King Lear" at A Noise Within. (Craig Schwartz)

Waring grimy boxers and a bowler festooned with foliage, gray-bearded Geoff Elliott prances onstage, portraying King Lear in a scene in which Shakespeare’s mad monarch grows even madder. The once-mighty patriarch rants and cries as he wanders the countryside in his underwear.

“It’s a mountain of a role,” Elliott says later, “one I’ve waited 30 years to play, until I had the life experience for the part.”

Aging, it seems, has its rewards — an idea the 58-year-old performer can appreciate as an artist and as a co-founder of A Noise Within. As it celebrates its 25th-anniversary season, the Pasadena-based troupe is doing some of its best work ever, he says, after “a long journey in which we built a company, a community and, at long last, a theater.”

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