Feminist scholars have long criticized Shakespeare`s King Lear as a play that aims to reestablish the patriarchal power and its legitimacy, betraying misogynistic prejudices. They have also noticed that the stage can be a very effective medium to foreground the patriarchal ideology of the play. Casting an actress for the role of Lear and thus positing a woman at the center of King Lear can be seen as a feminist`s attempt to subvert its patriarchal ideology on stage, by forcing the audience to reflect on their prejudice on the relationship between gender and power and to raise questions about the traditional interpretations of the play. This paper attempts to explore the possibilities and limits of the phenomenon of female Lear as a feminist strategy on stage, by analyzing two King Lear productions directed by a renowned avant-garde director, Robert Wilson, and a theatre collective, Mabou Mines, which cast Marianne Hoppe and Ruth Maleczech for the role of Lear respectively. Mabou Mines chose to stage King Lear for its 20th anniversary production in order to explore the ways in which power had been exerted within a family and affected by gender, race, and class in American society. For this purpose, director, Lee Breuer, reversed the gender of the entire characters, cast Gloucester and his two daughters as black, and situated the production in the 1950s` Smyma, Georgia. Despite Ruth Maleczech`s powerful performance as Lear and implications in here desire to own patriarchal language and thus challenge patriarchal representation, Mabou`s production fell short of being a full-blown feminist attack on King Lear due to directorial negligence to the details ensuing from the changes made by gender-reversal. Lack of technical subtlety and attempt to question not just gender but all forms of cultural hegemony in the specific sexual, racial, and class experience can also be attributed to the ineffectiveness of a female Lear as a feminist critique. In contrast to Mabou`s Lear production which openly proclaimed a politically resistant reading of Shakespeare`s play, Robert Wilson`s King Lear simply presented the process of Lear`s realization of human nature and death in a characteristically Wilsonian abstract and formalistic directing style. In this formalistic production, eighty-year-old Hoppe as Lear was portrayed as sexually indeterminate old (wo)man, implying that gender was not important in Wilson`s production. Despite the possibility that indifference to gender in Hoppe`s performance can be regarded as a step toward dismantling sexism based on the insistence of difference between sexes, Hoppe`s Lear functioned less as a gender critique than as a formalistic device which foregrounded Wilson`s anti-realistic aesthetics and deconstruction of the notion of unified, stable self. This study on two King Lear productions with female Lears thus argues that a female Lear alone cannot effectively subvert the dramatic narrative of King Lear, which is deeply implicated in patriarchal assumptions and designed to identify emotionally and morally with Lear`s sufferings. This study also concludes that in order to make a feminist statement with female Lears, directors are required to pay more careful attention to the details of the play and its coordination with other directorial choices. Despite tantalizing possibilities, the two productions with female Lears were experimentations which exposed the necessity of developing more diversified directing strategies for the subversion of patriarchal ideology of King Lear.