William Shakespeare’s Richard III is the study of how a politician’s over-developed ego drives the dark deeds he executes towards the attainment of high position. The play itself is a tidy piece of propaganda, according to Ralph Cohen, American Shakespeare Center’s director of mission, who described it as a reinforcement of Queen Elizabeth I’s legitimacy aimed at glorifying her grandfather, Henry VII, and vilifying his enemy, Richard III. With the presidential candidates gracing our television monitors on a nightly basis, it’s fun to see Richard stalking the stage, worrying about how to “...seem a saint where I must play the devil.”
The newest ASC version of the play opens with members of the acting troupe singing an a cappella version of Florence And The Machine’s hit song “Dog Days Are Over,” setting the tone for the peaceable rule of Richard’s brother King Edward IV. Richard, played by Benjamin Curns, then launches into the famous, “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York,” soliloquy, in which he exposes all manner of evil plans to usurp the king in such a self-absorbed way that you can’t help but think about today’s politicians.
For best seats, order tickets for Richard III today.
Written by Mary Burruss for C-Ville Weekly, January 10, 2012.
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A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Antony and Cleopatra
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The Winter's Tale
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