Tag Archives: Richard III

Richard III is at it again!

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster. *

Baltimore Shakespeare Factory Richard III promotional coaster features the King’s crest and a White Boar, his symbol. *

Everybody’s favorite Shakespearian villain is haunting the streets of Baltimore again. This time at Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s indoor performance space, The Great Hall Theatre at St. Mary’s on Roland Ave.

The Factory presents the Bard’s works as they were originally presented:

  • Universal lighting
  • Minimal sets
  • Music period to the time
  • Cross gender casting
  • And actors taking on multiple roles.

Given The Great Hall’s thrust stage and the the fact that they keep the lights up it is no wonder that as an audience you feel very engaged in the play. The players can see YOU as much as you can see them, and when Richard cracks some scheme or Elizabeth pleads to the heavens for mercy… they are talking to you.

This production snaps along at about 2 hours and 45 minutes (plus intermission) and stars Chris Cotterman as Richard. Cotterman is ruthless and –somehow– heartbreaking in the role. I (very unexpectedly) found myself (kind of) routing for the guy. Ian Blackwell Rogers– who won me over as Macbeth and Hamlet in past Factory productions — is delightfully oily as the power hunger Buckingham. And Lily Kerrigan, Kelly Dowling and Barbara Madison Hauck do justice to the trio of women (Lady Anne, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margaret) who have their lives torn apart by Richard’s ambitions. The show is directed by Tom Delise.

You’ve got one more weekend to catch it as the show runs through April April 19.

Poster for Richard. *

Poster for Richard. *

 

 

*I was lucky enough to design the promotional materials for the Factory’s production.


Richard the 3rd UPDATE

R3 UPDATE!

Those bones found at the Leicester car park are those of King Richard! DNA testing matched the bones to one of Richard’s descendants.

[The play Richard III  at Chesapeake Shakespeare has run its course, But you can catch Vince Eisensen (who played Richard) and James Jager (who played Henry) as Proteus and Valentine in the company’s current production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona weekends from Feb 22nd to March 17th. Click HERE for details

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Blog Note:  Richard the Third’s Birthday was Oct 3 1452.

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Richard III Royal Collection
Richard III Royal Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m thinking about Richard the Third of England.

We just saw the terrific Moveable Shakespeare production of Richard III at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in the ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City Maryland.

Director Ian Gallanar chose to pick the characters up from the 15th century and time warp them  to something resembling War War One. Clever, especially considering the Patapsco Female Institute was used as a war hospital during the Great War. In his director’s notes he says:

“The production really uses the visual palate and the historic technology of the World War One era as a way to clarify the relationships of the characters….[The audience] might also recognize the futility and wastefulness of a war that, much like the English “Wars of the Roses,” seemed more about resolving who would inherit power rather than who ought to inherit power.” [Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Richard III: Program Notes]

So on a cold October night we got to see one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays in and around the shell of a burned out 19th Century building that some people claim is haunted. The occasional gas-masked actors quietly playing cards in a dimly lit corner or typing away orders on an antique typewriter upped the creep factor. As did the lighting effects, the period music and wonderful costumes.

Vince Eisenson as Richard III. Photo by Teresa Castracane. [Image courtesy: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company]

 

This version of Richard really worked. I really liked the “Moveable” aspect too. It added to the length of the play (instead of quick scene changes the audience literally did a scene change by moving to a new part of the building or grounds, and that took a while.) My only problem was that there was a scene or two where I couldn’t see the action because I had the bad luck of standing behind some one tall.)  Still, I liked that we kept moving through the building, and “discovering” new rooms. It really put the audience DEAD center into the action of the play (and moving about  kept us warm.)

Richard III runs for one more weekend at Chesapeake Shakespeare. So if you are local to Maryland jump on their website and grab some tickets before they sell out. http://chesapeakeshakespeare.com/

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Scrap for a Shakespeare character card: Richar...

Scrap for a Shakespeare character card: Richard III., c. 1890; Printer: Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Museum number: S.63-2008, Link (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course they didn’t have instant fact checkers in Shakespeare’s day, and history, as they say is written by the winners. So it comes as no surprise that the Richard the Third we met last night was a real piece of work. Shakespeare was writing for an Elizabethan audience. Elizabeth, a Tudor, was the granddaughter of the man who finally brought about Richard’s undoing on Bosworth Field in Leicestershire, Henry VII. It was in his interest to make Richard as loathsome as possible.

Henry VII’s claim to the thrown was weak at best. So he took…

“every opportunity of enhancing his own reputation at the expense of his predecessor. Richard’s actions and behaviour were the subject of attention and scrutiny and were presented, in the weeks and years after his death, as those of a wicked and unscrupulous tyrant.” [The Richard III Society]

While he was alive Richard was well thought of.

  • He was loyal to his brother Edward.
  • He was effective in his administration of the North.
  • He defended the country against the Scots.
  • He handled the premature death of Edward with out plunging the country into crisis.

Shakespeare wasn’t the first writer to take up the thread of anti- Richard-ism. (Yes, I just made that up.)

By the time the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare penned what was to become one of his most popular and frequently performed plays, The Tragedy of King Richard III, the works of the anonymous Croyland Chronicler, John Rous, Bernard André, Polydore Vergil, Sir Thomas More, Edward Hall, Richard Grafton and Raphael Holinshed had been written. [Ibid]

So, as Chesapeake Shakespeare Managing  Director and Richard III Dramaturge says in her note… The Bard’s “fictitious villainous Richard has triumphed over the historic Richard for centuries now.” [CSC Program]

Richard III earliest surviving portrait. [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

 

In a timely twist of history archeologists digging up a parking lot in Leicester have found the remains of  the Greyfriars Church that might be those of Richard, the last King of England to die on the battlefield. They have found a skeleton in the choir area (Richard was buried in the choir of Friars Minor at Leicester), that had a skull injury caused by a bladed implement, an arrowhead was found between its vertebrae and upper back, and it had spinal abnormalities.

“the individual would have had severe scoliosis – which is a form of spinal curvature. This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left shoulder.” [University of Leicester Press Release : The Leicester Greyfriars Dig]

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Bonus Material:

Not sure how many of you watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire… but I couldn’t stop thinking how much Michael Shannon  (who plays messed up Treasury agent turned iron salesman Nelson Van Alden) looks like our boy Richard.  I think they ought to do a new film version of Richard cubed with Shannon in the lead. He certainly has the intensity to play the role.


Thought of the Day 10.21.12 Richard the Third

Blog Note: Today is NOT Richard the Third’s Birthday, that’s Oct 3 1452.

——————————————————————————–

Richard III Royal Collection

Richard III Royal Collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m thinking about Richard the Third of England.

We just saw the terrific Moveable Shakespeare production of Richard III at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in the ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City Maryland.

Director Ian Gallanar chose to pick the characters up from the 15th century and time warp them  to something resembling War War One. Clever, especially considering the Patapsco Female Institute was used as a war hospital during the Great War. In his director’s notes he says:

“The production really uses the visual palate and the historic technology of the World War One era as a way to clarify the relationships of the characters….[The audience] might also recognize the futility and wastefulness of a war that, much like the English “Wars of the Roses,” seemed more about resolving who would inherit power rather than who ought to inherit power.” [Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Richard III: Program Notes]

So on a cold October night we got to see one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays in and around the shell of a burned out 19th Century building that some people claim is haunted. The occasional gas-masked actors quietly playing cards in a dimly lit corner or typing away orders on an antique typewriter upped the creep factor. As did the lighting effects, the period music and wonderful costumes.

Vince Eisenson as Richard III. Photo by Teresa Castracane. [Image courtesy: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company]

This version of Richard really worked. I really liked the “Moveable” aspect too. It added to the length of the play (instead of quick scene changes the audience literally did a scene change by moving to a new part of the building or grounds, and that took a while.) My only problem was that there was a scene or two where I couldn’t see the action because I had the bad luck of standing behind some one tall.)  Still, I liked that we kept moving through the building, and “discovering” new rooms. It really put the audience DEAD center into the action of the play (and moving about  kept us warm.)

Richard III runs for one more weekend at Chesapeake Shakespeare. So if you are local to Maryland jump on their website and grab some tickets before they sell out. http://chesapeakeshakespeare.com/

————————————

Scrap for a Shakespeare character card: Richar...

Scrap for a Shakespeare character card: Richard III., c. 1890; Printer: Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Museum number: S.63-2008, Link (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course they didn’t have instant fact checkers in Shakespeare’s day, and history, as they say is written by the winners. So it comes as no surprise that the Richard the Third we met last night was a real piece of work. Shakespeare was writing for an Elizabethan audience. Elizabeth, a Tudor, was the granddaughter of the man who finally brought about Richard’s undoing on Bosworth Field in Leicestershire, Henry VII. It was in his interest to make Richard as loathsome as possible.

Henry VII’s claim to the thrown was weak at best. So he took…

“every opportunity of enhancing his own reputation at the expense of his predecessor. Richard’s actions and behaviour were the subject of attention and scrutiny and were presented, in the weeks and years after his death, as those of a wicked and unscrupulous tyrant.” [The Richard III Society]

While he was alive Richard was well thought of.

  • He was loyal to his brother Edward.
  • He was effective in his administration of the North.
  • He defended the country against the Scots.
  • He handled the premature death of Edward with out plunging the country into crisis.

Shakespeare wasn’t the first writer to take up the thread of anti- Richard-ism. (Yes, I just made that up.)

By the time the Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare penned what was to become one of his most popular and frequently performed plays, The Tragedy of King Richard III, the works of the anonymous Croyland Chronicler, John Rous, Bernard André, Polydore Vergil, Sir Thomas More, Edward Hall, Richard Grafton and Raphael Holinshed had been written. [Ibid]

So, as Chesapeake Shakespeare Managing  Director and Richard III Dramaturge says in her note… The Bard’s “fictitious villainous Richard has triumphed over the historic Richard for centuries now.” [CSC Program]

Richard III earliest surviving portrait. [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

In a timely twist of history archeologists digging up a parking lot in Leicester have found the remains of  the Greyfriars Church that might be those of Richard, the last King of England to die on the battlefield. They have found a skeleton in the choir area (Richard was buried in the choir of Friars Minor at Leicester), that had a skull injury caused by a bladed implement, an arrowhead was found between its vertebrae and upper back, and it had spinal abnormalities.

“the individual would have had severe scoliosis – which is a form of spinal curvature. This would have made his right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left shoulder.” [University of Leicester Press Release : The Leicester Greyfriars Dig]

 

——————————————————————————-

Bonus Material:

Not sure how many of you watch HBO’s Boardwalk Empire… but I couldn’t stop thinking how much Michael Shannon  (who plays messed up Treasury agent turned iron salesman Nelson Van Alden) looks like our boy Richard.  I think they ought to do a new film version of Richard cubed with Shannon in the lead. He certainly has the intensity to play the role.


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