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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: February ::
Handsome Richard III?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0043  Thursday, 16 February 2006

[1] 	From: 	Arthur Lindley <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 23:44:50 +0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[2] 	From: 	Steve Sohmer <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:58:19 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[3] 	From: 	L. Swilley <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:49:10 -0600
	Subj: 	Handsome Richard III? I hope not.

[4] 	From: 	Alan Jones <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 18:21:35 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[5] 	From: 	Joe Canzoneri <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 13:34:22 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[6] 	From: 	Barbara D. Palmer <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 13:53:46 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[7] 	From: 	Jack Heller <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 14:23:11 -0500 (EST)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

[8] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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	Date: 	Thursday, February 16, 2006
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arthur Lindley <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 23:44:50 +0800
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

I don't know of such a version of R3, but I do know a comparable, 
possibly relevant, case: Kevin Connor's 2004 TV film of Frankenstein 
uses a notably handsome actor, Luke Goss, as the Creature.  Goss limps 
but otherwise shows no sign of monstrosity, even though other characters 
respond to him as if he were hideous.  I liked that since it reinforced 
a point I was making to undergraduates studying the novel: that 
'monster' is something people call you rather than something you are. 
Richard, of course, tends to be both.

Arthur

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Steve Sohmer <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:58:19 EST
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

Dear William,

"Handsome," you'll agree, is a subjective term. What is important -- no, 
really vital to the success of any production -- is that the audience 
see in Richard what Anne sees in him, and what it is in Richard that 
wins Anne. If this chemistry isn't visible to the audience, the workings 
of the plot become curiously mechanical.

Hope this helps.

Steve

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		L. Swilley <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 10:49:10 -0600
Subject: 	Handsome Richard III? I hope not.

William Williams wrote,

 >Has there ever been a
 >production of Richard III, recently would be nice by anytime will do,
 >with Richard played by an incredibly handsome man with no deformities
 >whatsoever?

This cannot be done without dropping several critical lines from the 
play and - more importantly - losing a major part of the argument: the 
tragedy of Richard is that he makes himself lovable and is accepted by 
several as lovable and trustworthy in spite of his physical deformity 
and could have achieved all or most of what he wanted without villainy. 
He himself has accepted his physical deformity as the image of his moral 
character - that is his flaw.

L. Swilley

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Alan Jones <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 18:21:35 -0000
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?


 >A student asked a question in my class last night which I couldn't
 >answer and perhaps folk on the list can.  Has there ever been a
 >production of Richard III, recently would be nice by anytime will
 >do, with Richard played by an incredibly handsome man with no
 >deformities whatsoever? Thanks for the help, and I will credit the
 >answer(s) to you and not to me.

That would apply to Olivier, a handsome and undeformed _man_; but in the 
part of Richard he assumed the traditional hump, withered arm and 
twisted face. How could he not, while leaving the text unchanged? 
Perhaps your student could go carefully through the play noting what R 
himself and others say of his appearance and demeanour.

Alan Jones

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Joe Canzoneri <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 13:34:22 EST
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

Would Ian McKellan qualify as "an incredibly handsome man with no 
deformities"???

Joe Canzoneri
CUNY / Queens College
Flushing, NY

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Barbara D. Palmer <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 13:53:46 -0500
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

Well, "recently" is relative, but Brian Bedford at Stratford, Ontario, I 
think in the '80s, was a long way from ugly.  He had a slight shoulder 
hump and suggested a less-than-mobile arm, but the face was compellingly 
attractive.

Barbara D. Palmer

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jack Heller <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Feb 2006 14:23:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

I don't know of a Richard played by a handsome actor, but this question 
brings to mind an idea I once suggested to a director. A few sources 
I've seen raise doubts that the actual king was a hunchback and that he 
is known to have appeared unshirted on a public occasion. (Was it his 
coronation? I'll have to find the source.) Suppose that around line 
1.1.18--"I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion-the actor were to 
start costuming himself on stage with the hunchback prop, so that the 
actor's own fair proportion is visibly, immediately curtailed. In line 
21, he is "scarce half made up." As the character of Richard is notably 
theatrical, an actor could emphasis that theatricality by rather 
literally getting into character onstage. I would be interested in 
knowing if such a performance has been tried, and if so, whether it was 
effective.

By the way, I suppose the point of Dr. Williams's question would be that 
the handsome actor would not hide his handsomeness in costuming. I 
recall a handsome actor playing Richard about 13-15 years in a 
Shakespeare in a park production, but he was costumed and made up into 
the usual presentation.

Jack Heller

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Thursday, February 16, 2006
Subject: 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0032 Handsome Richard III?

William,

This probably does not fall within your criteria, but . . .

One of, if not THE, most memorable Richard's I have had the pleasure of 
seeing was Stacy Keech's at the Shakespeare Theatre before the move to 
the Lansburgh. Keech was without a doubt handsome and charismatic; he 
wore a leg brace that he removed and wielded with great relish at the 
end of the production. My memory may be failing, but I also seem to 
remember that either he moved from a bent-over to a straight-backed 
Richard or may have even been humpless throughout.

In any case, Keech was an incredibly handsome Richard, with or without 
seeming disabilities.

Limping along,
Hardy

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