Richard’s Mischief Managed

Our reading of Richard III last night was a great success, despite the rainy evening. You can find our Richard program here, which includes historical background and scene summaries courtesy of our director, Angeline Morris. Below, for your viewing pleasure, you can find alternate poster designs from UA art students we thought worthy of honorable mention.

Cartoon of Richard III seeing a stabbed, skeletal version of himself in a mirror.
Poster by A’Neshia Turner
Richard III logo in black font over three crossed swords.
Richard III poster with the image of a wine glass submerged in a sea of wine, upon which a boat is tossed. A reference to Clarence's dream of drowning.
Poster by Anna Sella

IF presents Spring 2020

It’s a busy semester, so Improbable Fictions is concentrating its efforts on two performances this spring.

First off, we’ll be presenting a collection of scenes of and about teaching in early modern drama as part of the 2020 Hudson Strode symposium “The Future of Teaching Shakespeare.” Registration is closed for the symposium (we capped out at seventy attendees!), but our performance is free and open to the public. We’ll be reading these scenes at 7:30 pm on Friday, February 21st, 2020 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Pre-show music begins at 7:15 pm, and a Q&A will follow the approximately 50 minute performance.

Second, IF will present a staged reading of Shakespeare’s Richard III, cut and directed by Angeline Morris, at 6:30 pm on Wed, Mar 4th, 2020, also at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Pre-show music begins at 6:00 pm. We’re partnering with Theatre Tuscaloosa’s SecondStage: Festival of One Acts, a collection of short plays that begins at 8:00 pm on March 4th and runs through the rest of the week. IF’s reading is free and open to the public. Tickets for the Festival can be purchased here.

Image of a boar eating a crown with the words "Richard III" in the background
Poster by Angel Green

Audio for Richard III

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.

Richard III

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

Richard III

A play by William Shakespeare

Sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program of Renaissance Studies

Brief Overview

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.)

Richard III

At 7:30pm on Wednesday, Oct 1st, Improbable Fictions will present a staged reading of Shakespeare’s Richard III at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center (just down the block from the Bama Theatre). Pre-show music begins at 7:00pm. This reading is free and open to the public.

The Facebook Event

If you’re interested, you can find our adaptation of the script here: Richard III, cut

NPG 148; King Richard III by Unknown artist

Fall Shakes Events, 2014

There’s an abundance of Shakespeare in Tuscaloosa this fall! Here are some of the offerings.



This fall, Improbable Fictions will be hosting a series of one-hour workshops on Shakespeare in performance. Our first event will be this coming Thursday, September 11th at 7:30, when Mark Hughes Cobb will lead a workshop entitled “Rude Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing and Outdoor Performance.” Mark will discuss the history of the Rude Mechanicals, a Tuscaloosa Shakespeare troupe, and will break down key skills actors and directors use when preparing Shakespeare’s plays for a contemporary outdoor setting. Audience participation will be encouraged.

Later workshops include: September 25th: An Introduction to Shakespearean Acting, led by Prof. Seth Panitch; October 16th: First Folio Techniques, led by Nic Barilar; and October 23rd: Speak the Speech, led by Prof. Steve Burch.

All workshops will be held downtown at the Paul R. Jones Art Gallery, 2308 6th Street, Tuscaloosa at 7:30pm each evening. These events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama.


Shakespeare Film Posters jpg

This year the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies begins a Shakespeare on Film series at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa. All films are free and open to the public. We’ve scheduled a range of films, some you’ve no doubt seen and loved, others you’ve not. We offer a teen Taming in Ten Things About You, which stars Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and we offer an African American Taming in Deliver Us From Eva! We offer the unnerving noir of The Bad Sleep Well, in which a young Japanese executive tracks down his father’s killer; we balance that Hamlet with To Be or Not to Be, a serious comedy starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard, shot during World War II. We offer song and dance in West Side Story and Love’s Labor’s Lost. We offer Robby the Robot and film’s first $1,000,000 budget in Forbidden Planet. Inspiration is offered for a lot less; in Shakespeare Behind Bars, one can appreciate the efforts of theater professionals working with inmates as they try to change their lives. Please enjoy for the first time or again! 

Here is the line-up:

* September 15, 2014: Strode Film SeriesTen Things I Hate About You
* October 13, 2014: Strode Film Series – Shakespeare Behind Bars
* November 4, 2014: Strode Film Series – The Bad Sleep Well
* December 16, 2014: Strode Film Series – To Be Or Not to Be
* January 19, 2015: Strode Film Series – West Side Story
* February 16, 2015: Strode Film Series – Deliver Us From Eva
* March 11, 2015: Strode Film Series – Forbidden Planet
* April 27, 2015: Strode Film Series – Love’s Labour’s Lost

All films start at 7:30pm, and are free and open to the public.

Staged Readings:

Improbable Fictions will present two staged readings this semester: Richard III on Wed, Oct 1st, directed by Nic Helms, and As You Like It on Thurs. Dec 4th, directed by Deborah Parker.  Both staged readings will be held in the Dinah Washington black box theatre at the Tuscaloosa Cultural Arts Center. Shows start at 7:30pm, with pre-show music at 7:00pm. Free and open to the public.

On Stage:

The University of Alabama’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, adapted and directed by Seth Panitch, from November 18-23. The play is set in 1920s New Orleans, and will involve elements of jazz and voodoo. Tickets can be purchased online or at UATD’s box office on campus.