Here you can find a partial recording of October 1st’s staged reading of Richard III, as well as the Richard III, cut. The recording starts with pre-show music, and the performance proper starts at minute 29. Unfortunately, due to the size of the original audio file and the size of the memory card I was using, the recording only goes to act 4 of the show.
And here, the cast list and Jacob Crawford’s program notes for the show:
Richard, Duke of Gloucester (David Ainsworth)
George, Duke of Clarence, his brother (Richard LeComte)
King Edward IV, his brother (Austin Whitver)
Queen Elizabeth, Edward’s wife (Gabrielle Perkins)
Prince Edward (Bert McLel)
Young Prince (Jennifer Sudduth)
Duchess of York, mother of the brothers (Deborah Parker)
Lady Anne, widow of Prince Edward (Dakota Park-Ozee)
Lord Buckingham (Charles Prosser)
Lord Brackenbury (Renwick Jones)
Lord Catesby (Wes Youngson)
Lord Hastings (Emily Pitts Donahoe)
Lord Rivers (Allison Wheatley)
Lord Stanley (Charles Barkley)
Lord Tyrrel (Alex Ferretti)
Earl of Richmond, King Henry VII (Mark Hughes Cobb)
Nic Helms (Director)
Jacob Crawford (Assistant Director)
Laurie Arizumi (Music)
Improbable Fictions presents
A play by William Shakespeare
Sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program of Renaissance Studies
Richard III is the fourth and final play in the Henry VI tetralogy. It is one of Shakespeare’s first plays, written between 1592 and 1593, and it is one of his longest plays—second only to the quarto edition of Hamlet. (Fear not, my friends! Our version is abridged!) Although it is grouped among the histories in Shakespeare’s First Folio, it is labeled a tragedy in the Quarto edition. That said, it is a witty, darkly entertaining play that offers a bleak view of kingship and the price of power. Its biting commentary on greed, corruption, and authority is still relevant—especially in light of recent events in the Middle East.
Richard III was the King of England between 1483 and 1485. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His death at Bosworth Field marked the end of the War of the Roses and represents the end of the Middle Ages. To this day, Richard III remains one of the most unpopular kings in English history. Although he suffered severe scoliosis, most stories and plays about him, including Shakespeare’s play, exaggerate his monstrous afflictions. (Today, we continue this tradition through our casting of David Ainsworth.)
The staged reading of Richard III was a great success, and I’ll have some audio posted from it later this week. First I have an announcement about two Shakepseare events happening next week.
Hudson Strode’s next Shakespeare On Film offering will be Shakespeare Behind Bars, next Monday, October 13th, at 7:30pm at the Bama Theatre. Here’s what Ben Moran has to say about the film:
Shakespeare Behind Bars, directed by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (2005)
The Luther Luckett Correctional Complex might be the last place one would expect to find Shakespeare. A medium-security Kentucky prison surrounded by guard towers and razor-wire, it houses 1100 convicts, including murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Yet once a week, Curt Tofteland, program director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, visits this island of concrete and steel to help a group of inmates prepare a Shakespearean play. As part of their rehabilitative efforts, the members of this troupe spend a year with one text, rehearsing for a springtime production to be staged before their families and fellow inmates. For the year depicted in Shakespeare Behind Bars, the cast selects The Tempest as its play. Almost instantly, the prisoners begin unwittingly merging with the characters they perform. Between rehearsals, they play out their own anger and guilt, relaying, as Prospero does, their histories and the causes of their present conditions. Hal (Prospero) grapples with his troubled family history, sexuality, and role as a father, all while playing a different father on stage. Red (Miranda) initially rebels against his role; he bickers with his stage father during practice before recounting his own difficult upbringing. A beast of a man, Big G (Caliban) also must come to terms with his crime and the fact that he, like Caliban, has grown up in bondage. Each man has reason enough to remain angry at the world around him. Yet each holds onto the hope that somehow he can atone for his sins. Realizing they too are “such stuff / As dreams are made on,” bound to fade “like this insubstantial pageant,” the cast members desire the smallest of salvations. As Leonard (Antonio) articulates, they can only aspire to be remembered for something other than the worst things they have done. Staging Shakespeare does not resolve their problems, but by the time of their spring performance, the prison troupe gives us reason to believe that doing so has set their sole aspiration within reach.
On Thursday, October 16th at 7:30pm at the Paul R. Jones art gallery, IF will hold its third Shakespeare in Performance workshop, Shakespeare’s First Folio: An Actor’s Tool, led by Nic Barilar. This hour-long workshop explores the creative and interpretative hints “hidden” in Shakespeare’s First Folio and how actors use these cues in performance. The workshop will include an introductory history of the Folio (the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623), a demonstration of some of the major differences between the Folio and modern editions of the plays, and, of course, explanations regarding how to use the text in performance. The evening will conclude with a brief exercise practicing the technique.