“I am determined to prove that I am a bad man,” Richard III tells us at the very beginning of his eponymous Shakespearean drama, justifying his choice by the fact that he is “roughly branded,” “not fashioned for sporting tricks,” and “deceived.” feature by hiding nature. He says that even the dogs barked right next to him, that he channeled all this anger into his talent for murder, that he killed at least nine people, including two young children, in stage traffic one evening, and that he eventually met his own violent end. Battle of Bosworth Field.
Most of Richard’s murders occur offstage, but the deaths are evident in new artistic director Edward Hall’s new production of “Richard III” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; stylized (princes are puppets) but still a grizzly affair. it is more associated with the Jacobean tragedy, the Grand Guignol, or the TV show “Dexter”.
This is an extremely striking and brave production. stars Katy Sullivan, a Broadway actor, Paralympic sprinter, and double amputee, and Richard’s temper is that it follows a game plan familiar to modern American politics, treating governance as a zero-sum game and ruthlessly exploiting dissenting etiquette and adherence to rules. weaknesses are observed. There is no need to spell out the name of the leading modern practitioner. The tactic insists that what is true and fair is only someone else’s narrative, friends, and the end result is political confusion. exploitable political turmoil.
This is an absolutely legitimate approach to the play “Richard III”, which symbolizes the so-called Tudor myth in which Shakespeare, knowing which side he had his money in Queen Elizabeth’s England, demolishes Dicky of York and strengthens the moral authority of society. The Tudors, whose claim to the English throne is pretty dubious when you really look at it. The play is a metatext for the idea that history is written by the winners, especially since the real Richard’s body was infamously discovered covered by a car park in Leicester, England, in 2012.
The strength of this show is its contemporary interpretation of the text, well in keeping with the tradition of this theatre, as epitomized by Sullivan’s enthusiastic verbiage and high-energy performance. It hardly needs pointing out that Sullivan is not a traditional Richard, but his work is stunning in its commitment to the present and how it uses certain physical assets. In the beginning, Richard speaks to us without his prosthesis; As the play progresses, he dons the legs necessary for court leadership, and when Richard finally enters a battlefield where a horse is worth a kingdom, he dons the running blades. It’s a strong physical drive to say the least, and underpins Hall’s approach to the game; here he is joined by a talented supporting cast including Scott Aiello, Erik Hellman, and Dedo Balogun (as Ratcliffe).
However, there are some disconnections here too. While Michal Pavelka’s scenic and costume design is both artistic and well-suited to the environmental empowerment of butchery and chainsaws, including the beloved plastic floppy things of meat markets, the show employs a masked chorus that performs many of the deadly acts. I think Hall intended this creepy crew to reflect Richard’s inner life, but they seem more like his external subordinates because they’re agents of the conspiracy and not emotionally invested enough in Richard. We don’t really understand much of Richard’s doubts, although Shakespeare writes them into the play constantly. Quieter moments are few.
Sullivan finally makes you aware of Richard’s concerns: “O cowardly conscience, how you grieve me!” monologue, but by then it was Act 5, Scene 3, and the bodies were piling up. Although this play has the most difficult to stage scene in all of Shakespeare, in which Richard woos Lady Anne (Jaeda LaVonne) at lightning speed, the show is full of Richard’s seductive (or, if you prefer, seductive) There is some fear of the idea that it is. ) even though she had killed or helped kill her husband, father, and father-in-law. LaVonne catches you for a moment with Anne’s confusing anguish, but the scene doesn’t come off as it should, and then the show seems to drop this particular exposition of Richard’s effectiveness.
Richard marrying Anne cannot be an appropriate choice – Anne does not advance his claim to the throne – so why is this crazy scene here? Of course, it is worth noting that Richard has a personal, sensual charm. I think these artists could have gone much further with all this, here And if it were anywhere else, and that would only strengthen Hall’s central narrative.
Whatever you do with “Richard III,” and this series does so much worth seeing and hearing, the beguiling opening statement that he is “determined to prove he is the bad guy” needs to be a strong counterpoint, or he could become a psychopathic and melodramatic villain. The action is intense , smooths out the dramatic tension even if it feels fast and bloody.
This can’t happen through the Earl of Richmond (a well-chosen Demetrios Troy) or Queen Margaret (an uncompromising Libyan Pugh) or anyone else who just wants revenge; It must crystallize as doubts creeping inside the head that wears the crown. The body and our response to otherness is absolutely at the heart of this deceptively complex play, and thanks to Jon Trenchard’s cleverly nihilistic and deeply haunting arrangements of the traditional music that marks this show, we are inculcated with the atrophy of body politics. .
I wish there was more hesitation and doubt in the series. We could all use a little more of that right now.
Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.
Review: “Richard III” (3 stars)
When: until March 3
Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Courtyard Theatre, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.
Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Tickets: $38-$97 at 312-595-5600 and www.chicagoshakes.com