We are well into rehearsals now – gone are the stop start sessions where the big decisions of which entrances and exits to use were made! Now we’re into the real nitty-gritty – the acting.
Richard III is possibly Shakespeare’s strangest play genre-wise – it’s not a true History play like the Henries, nor is it a fantastical tragedy like Hamlet, and it’s definitely not a comedy – but it has elements of all three. There are laugh out loud moments of comic relief, there’s the soliloquies, and there’s history (albeit loosely based on real events). But I think that’s what makes this such a fantastic play.
Richard himself is one of the most complex and intriguing characters that Shakespeare penned – and one of the most memorable, seeing as it’s the grounds on which most people have formed their opinion of the real Richard. He’s manipulative, coniving, cruel – but also incredibly charming, interesting, and yes, attractive, despite his portrayal as a “bunch-back’d toad” (more on that in a later post I think…)
Audiences enter the theatre with a general idea of what to expect – probably based off of the much parodied Laurence Olivier performance. A limping hunch back, who sneers in iambic pentameter. What they don’t expect is to find themselves warming to, and even siding with, the plotting Lord Protector.
Which is where the acting comes in. Casting Richard was always going to be a challenge – a popular part, certainly, and we had some of the best actors that Northampton has to offer turn up and read for the role. John and I always knew that it was going to take something special for anyone to win out in the Battle of the Audition – and it was a particularly special audition moment when we realised we had our Richard.
A goosebumps moment.
And those goosebumps have continued – not just with our amazing Richard, but the whole amazing cast. Everyone is working so hard, and so well together, while still managing to laugh and properly play with the play.
It is an absolute delight to be in the rehearsal room with these brilliant people 3 evenings a week – I cannot wait for audiences to see the fruit of all their hard work.
Thu 28 July – Saturday 6 August 2022 at 7.30pm (no performance on Sunday)
Performed in the open air in the courtyard of Abington Park Museum, Park Avenue South, Northampton NN1 5LW Find out more