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It is the best Richard III I have ever seen, and I doubt that I will ever see a production as perfect as this.
I am not a professional theatre critic, but having studied this play so much and having written a version of it that sets in the Elizabethan world Shakespeare wrote it for, I do have some very specific criticisms of this production.
By that I mean that audiences in Shakespeare’s day were very loud and would not only make noise but talk back to the actors. The actors would be accustomed to this and would have to be prepared not only to perform their roles, but also to manage the crowds.
|Here is a shot from the Twelfth Night production, with some people from the audience seated on stage|
Very often they looked distracted and bored. They were not engaged with the play.
He could even woo them in the early part of the play, and then turn on them in the later scenes. In effect, he has made his accomplices into his hostages on stage, jailed in the galleries.
The stage is shared by murderers, jail-keepers, royals and aristocrats. The royal family comes across as pathetic and foolish. There is not one truly sympathetic character in the play.
When she faces off with Richard late in the play, the audience should be rooting against her. We should want Richard to tear her to pieces like they are two animals in a bear-baiting ring. The other actors on stage should brandish their swords to build the suspense, and perhaps even find some jokes at her expense.
|Mark Rylance with Samuel Barnett as Queen Elizabeth|
In this version, she leaves the stage as the dominant character, as if she has won. Not only does this not make sense, but it is another lost opportunity for some humor.
David B. Schajer
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