stonebender: (Default)
[personal profile] stonebender
A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to see Richard III at the Curren theater in San Francisco. The play is a problem for me as a person with a disability. Richard is the twisted in body, therefore twisted in mind stereotype of a person with a disability. This production does nothing to help that, but I'm willing to overlook it as a work of its time.

Kevin Spacey does an amazing job as Richard. In fact, the play loses a good deal of energy when he's not on stage. There are several lines that never quite made sense to me until this production. Other lines read completely different than I had understood them before.

Except for the fellow who played Buckingham (who was very good) most of the male actors were underwhelming. In fact, I was surprised at how often I couldn't even hear what they were saying. The actor playing Richmond was particularly bad and the performance of Edward IV wasn't much better. All of the women's performances were particularly strong. I especially loved the the actor playing Margaret Anjou (I'm sorry that I'm not coming up with the actors names. If I get ambitious later, I'll try to insert them.) Margaret was played with such power and dignity and sadness. She was every bit as good as Kevin (and that is saying something in my opinion). The last performance of real note was Lady Anne. A part that I think is very very difficult to play.

I very much liked the direction of this play. Starting sections of the play with names of the character important in that scene really helped organize things for me. I think anyone unfamiliar with the play would have been helped. The set design was spare which worked very well for this performance. Lighting was amazingly effective. I really like how they chose to present the execution/death of several characters. And the tableau of Richard's murder victims towards the end of the play really got me. Music direction was amazingly helpful. I truly loved the drumming it really moves the play.

I will admit to one tiny problem for me. Kevin was very disciplined in keeping his body as crooked as possible except during the sword fight when his leg worked perfectly well to my eye. It wasn't enough to spoil the play, but he had done so well until that point. The first act of the play was too long, as many have said, and there was a lull towards the end of the first act that felt a lot like the director saying, "well I have to get a lot details in, so let's get through them as painlessly as possible". I felt my mind wondering during the last 15 minutes or so of the first act.

The play was a real treat for me. Kevin Spacey is one of my very favorite actors and my esteem for his work gets better all the time.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-01 03:14 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (JK 57 oh really?)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Thanks for the detailed review.

I was also stunned at Spacey's discipline in embodying his victim/villain character in The Usual Suspects, but of course he was free to call out for a break when needed.

There's a lovely crossover novel which combines history and detective work. It's called Daughter of Time by Josphine Tey. A DI is bored convalescing from serious body-breakage. He woos a local librarian into supplying him with all sorts of historical resources to investigate the centuries-old scandal of the murder of the Princes in the Tower and Richard III. That book was the first hint I had that Ruchard III wasn't in fact disabled; that his evil deeds splashed impairment on him retroactively and metaphorically.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-04 05:01 am (UTC)
necturus: 2016-12-30 (Default)
From: [personal profile] necturus
That book was the first hint I had that Ruchard III wasn't in fact disabled; that his evil deeds splashed impairment on him retroactively and metaphorically.

Richard III is popularly known mainly through Shakespeare, whose historical plays were propaganda for the then-reigning Tudor dynasty.The Tudor claim to the English throne was dubious; Henry VII had been a Welsh upstart whose principal claim to the throne was by right of conquest, having defeated and killed Richard at Bosworth Field. He and his descendants had an interest in vilifying Richard, who may have been the legitimate heir to the throne if, as he claimed, Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was invalid.

Kings of that era did all sorts of dirty deeds, much as American presidents do today; politics is a dirty business. Was Richard any guiltier than Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, or indeed Queen Elizabeth I? But history is written by the victors, in this case the Tudors, so we'll probably never know.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-11-08 09:14 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
Finally came back to look at this, and I especially agree that some of the lines changed meaning for me because of the way Spacey read them, and I thought his reading was "right" once I heard it.

Thanks for your review!

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