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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: August ::
Re: Directing Richard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1522  Monday, 30 August 1999.

[1]     From:   Andy White <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Aug 1999 11:52:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Directing Richard

[2]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Fri, 27 Aug 1999 23:01:07 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 10.1509 Directing Richard

[3]     From:   Tony Rust <
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        Date:   Saturday, 28 Aug 1999 10:18:04 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.1509 Directing Richard


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andy White <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Aug 1999 11:52:08 -0400
Subject:        Re: Directing Richard

Is this the Woodland Opera House in northern California?  If I remember
correctly (my wife grew up in Davis, nearby) it's a fairly small house,
which should be ideal for the approach Mr. Keach used here at the
Folger.

The key, it seems to me, would be the size of the house, and the degree
of intimacy that can be achieved between Richard and your audience.
Keach could seduce us all, because we were only a few hundred and were
all quite close to the action.  McKellan, because he played to huge
houses (like BAM, the Kennedy Center, etc.) assumed a more distant,
commanding character who barked out orders; he couldn't seduce because
the houses were too big for small-talk, he could only grab us by the
scruff of the neck.

That's not the whole story for either one of them, of course, but
considerations of past audience/actor relationships in your theatre
might determine your overall approach.

Best luck,
Andy White
Arlington, VA

[Editor's Note: I saw Keach in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre and
McKellan at the Kennedy Center Opera House and agree completely with
Andy White on this point. -Hardy]

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Fri, 27 Aug 1999 23:01:07 +0100
Subject: Directing Richard
Comment:        SHK 10.1509 Directing Richard

Beware: if you do not have a good Buckingham, and a very useful Anne,
the play descends into farce, or a tiresome piece of one-man show
narcissism. The stronger the other parts, the stronger your hand is in
dealing with Richard.

If you do make your best-looking actor play R3, is there not a sense in
which you are rather flying in the face of the very first soliloquy of
the play, and disallowing yourself a major strand in R's motivation?
Just a thought. Maybe your 'handsome actor' should play Buckingham?

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tony Rust <
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Date:           Saturday, 28 Aug 1999 10:18:04 -0400
Subject: 10.1509 Directing Richard
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.1509 Directing Richard

Jeff-

I played Richard ten years ago with my off off-Broadway company. His
charisma and charm and sexuality can be a challenge to find and exploit,
finding them underneath all his offensiveness. I just read a very
interesting view on the part in a book I alas did not purchase, in any
case it was a book of actors discussing Shakespearean roles, and the
actor who played Richard in "The War of the Roses" in England many years
ago had some interesting insights in the development of the part,
getting the great gift of playing Richard through the Histories in just
a few evenings. Also, Anthony Sher's book "The Year of the King" is very
interesting.

He's always a fun challenge: despicable yet has to capture the hearts of
the audience in some way.

Best of Luck
 

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