Friday, 24 August 2012

Theatrical Interlude 14

Richard III, The Globe Theatre, August 2012

I was a little concerned going into this play - it was the third play in just over 24 hours after all. Could this, the second play in as many days, really be as good as Henry V?

I must learn not to doubt - it was truly wonderful, but a departure from the preceding plays I've seen in this location as it was played with an all male cast.

I'd seen a few cast photos from this play before we went and I did wonder if I'd be able to believe that the female characters were female.  It was a little be of a shock at first but as with any good play this quickly became irrelevant and it was the lines that were important.

In my mind I'd always seen Richard III as a dark sinister character who was an archetypal villain but in this version Mark Rylance expressed his ruthlessness and madness through humour. Admittedly dark and often inappropriate humour but it was an intriguing way to play the role.

I also wonder if this play came closest to showing off The Globe as it would have been in Shakespeare's time as Richard III, and other actors, are constantly turning to the audience and encouraging participation.  It could have turned into a Shakespearean pantomime but the quality of the acting prevented this and I just felt I'd travelled in time.

The one thing I noticed with this performance was how relatively static it was - the actors didn't leave the stage and use the groundling area at all. This play is transferring to a traditional theatre in the West End later in the year and I do wonder if this has altered the staging at all.

All in all another wonderful production at The Globe, and I think a great introduction to the venue for my dad who accompanied us on this visit. I can't wait to introduce my mum to the venue when we see Taming of the Shrew in a couple of weeks.

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