To be, or not to be.....that was the age-old question asked by Shakespeare in his famous play Hamlet.
Well Great Day may not have the answer to that particular question; however Tuesday's show featured Dean Rhodus's review of Shakespeare's "Richard III."
Rhodus is a local performing arts experts who appears on Great Day to show valley residents why theater is positively worth it.
Here's a look at this week's review:
REVIEW OF RICHARD III
WOODWARD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
AUGUST 20, 2009
"Richard III" is one of Shakespeare's historic dramas, written in the beginning of his career. It concerns achieving power for the purpose of governing. Although that is what we see on the surface, we are privy to so much of the inner workings of the ascent to power, one is drawn into the psychology of those who seek it, defend it and achieve it. Not a topic that is unknown to us today, and from a man who knew the workings of the mind like very few others.
Medieval English government was based on hierarchy, God being first, then King, then nobility and finally the people. The King was God's instrument on Earth. The idea of separation of church and state had not yet been born. We are the descendants of these people and these struggles. We can gain perspective to our own times. This is our heritage. These struggles led to the Magna Charta. This is also our language.
In Shakespeare's day, if a man would woo a woman it was not with anything other than a sonnet, written from his heart and offered to her, either beneath her window or by secret missive. Shakespeare was the master of such verse. He celebrated the language and created so many house hold terms (his phrase) that we quote him constantly and don't know it.
I'm trying to tempt you out of your houses and into the seats at Woodward Park. It is a wonderful experience. Live theater is like no other. Unlike film, it allows you to be in the presence of other human beings and feel their energy and give yours in return, which begins a synergy of energy that is profound. When you throw in a great playwright, beautiful language and a soft breeze in a in a lovely setting, well...you get my point.
Thursday night's performance was interesting. For instance, in Shakespeare's day, boys played the part of women. In this production, women played the parts of men, and in some cases couples. Tradition can argue for the director's choices. It is also likely that not enough men turned out at the auditions. Practicality can and must take precedence to even tradition. Director Heather Parish skillfully surmounted several slippery slopes. Whew! I'm glad that's out of my system!
It's tempting to speak of Shakespeare's choices as a writer and dramatist, but there is not enough time to achieve real communication on the subject. Instead, I encourage YOU to read about him, his times, his genius, and SEE HIS PLAYS. It's definitely worth it!
As to this particular production: Richard III, played by Jaguar Bennet, was attractive. Yes, I know he's played grotesquely and misshapen by many, but Bennet succeeded, with the help of a sly humor, thanks to Shakespeare, and a certain bold braggadocio, to be charming. One could see the Machiavellian philosophy, which had recently run rampant (I've got to stop that) and seeping surreptitiously (somebody stop me) into the English thought process, which stated that in politics, there is no morality. That a good man cannot govern effectively. Hummmmm. Can you get to a seat of power and remain a good guy? Or, like Shakespeare's Richard III, is any device available in the name of becoming a president (another way to pronounce president) over the welfare of a people? Hummmm.
Shakespeare's thoughts on the subject are not just incisive, that are instructive.
The other parts were well represented with particular mention for David Otero who drew us to him with his noble baring as King Edward IV, Jessica Reedy, who was compelling and sympathetic in the role of the Dowager Queen Margaret, and Gabriela Lawson who imbued Lord Buckingham with strength, fidelity and intelligence.
I thank the entire cast and crew for allowing Shakespeare to come through to us, with special note to director Heather Parish.