Richard III provides a worthy challenge
One of literature’s most notorious villains, Richard III, charges onto the University Theatre stage in an epic tale of treachery, deceit, seduction and murder. Playing Mar. 22-26 at 8 p.m. nightly, Shakespeare’s classic takes a new form under the direction of Douglas MacArthur.
The play follows a disfigured Richard III as he plots to ascend the English throne and claim the crown from his brother, King Edward IV. Through betrayal and murder, Richard III’s short-lived victory results in his tragic downfall.
“Richard III is the telling of a story that suited the Tudors and royalty of Shakespeare’s time,” says MacArthur. “This man was born with a physical deformity that symbolizes the evil streak in his nature.”
“Richard III is an expert performer, who draws in the audience as he does his adversaries,” adds MacArthur. “He is on his way to becoming a deceitful dictator, and the other characters are undeniably intertwined with his actions. He’s able to be what he needs to be to get what he wants, and sets the stage for his treachery.”
Considered one of Shakespeare’s most important works, MacArthur endeavors to make the script accessible and entertaining for audiences.
“Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays and except for Hamlet, is the longest of his works. In addition to adapting the script to suit our purposes, we’ve also created a completely unique world for Richard III, through an amalgamation of gothic and contemporary elements,” says MacArthur.
MFA candidate, David Barrus, designed the set and lighting for the production. Barrus created the world for Richard III’s tumultuous rise to victory and tragic fall as part of his final MFA project.
“The set represents the main character as architecture,” he explains. “It symbolizes Richard’s grip on his environment and the starkness of his character.”
The contemporary costumes, designed by Leslie Robison-Greene, and electronic sound effects, designed by fourth-year drama tech/design major Josh Hellawell, complete the surreal atmosphere of this one-of-a-kind production.
Tickets to this timeless tragedy are available at the University Box Office, open weekdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. or by calling 403-329-2616. Tickets are $15 regular and $10 senior/student.
For a look at the March issue of the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.