The Dell

Richard III Kitten Killer

June 13, 2013

Richard III posterLast weekend Mary (our director) and Richard (Richard III) went to Stratford-upon-Avon where they watched As You Like It, and visited The Dell.

To the bemusement, and possible amusement, of picnicking couples and cider drinking teenagers Richard variously lay on the stage, sat on the stage, stood on the stage and tried out some of his speeches; I hear he was convincingly evil (across between Voldemort and the Wicked Witch of the West).

Richard also met a Samba band, and we're considering having them turn up at Henry VI's funeral where they could serenade Lady Anne Neville as Richard woos her.

Richard has been reading lots of history books to check out how evil he really is. Opinions range from 'he was not at all evil, he abolished the purchasing of high office and was holder of the British land speed record' to 'he was a really evil kitten killer with unicorn blood on his hands'.

I have been reading about a famous tradition of actors playing Richard refusing to die in the last act. My favourite account is of a Victorian Richard who fought Richmond down into the pit, up the aisle, through the lobby and out into the street. Once outside, having beaten Richmond, Richard threw down his sword and went to the pub.

Young girl, Nancy, with a sword and helmetOur Richard and Richmond haven't choreographed their fight scene yet, but Richard being 6 foot 3 and Richmond not yet 5 foot I can imagine something similarly unconventional (maybe with Richmond launching himself at Richard's head?)

George the Duke of Clarence has been working on his death scene (he is stabbed and eventually drowned in a barrel of wine); we're trying to figure out how to transport three barrels to Stratford - one for drinking wine, one for cooking wine and one for drowning wine.

Clarence was reputed to be rather fond of wine, so having been thrown in the barrel Clarence plans to try to drink his way to safety with a sign around his neck saying 'never been sober since 1470' ... he may need a top-up (although as the actor is 12 it will obviously be non-alcoholic).

During last year's performance of Henry IV we threw great bunches of radishes at Falstaff when he said 'if I fought not with fifty of them call me a bunch of radish'. That was so much fun that Mary has decided we should get food into this play too: Death and his assistant want to distribute jelly babies to the audience for execution, the Prince(ss) in the tower wants the Carrier Pigeon to bring her strawberries and Henry Richmond has *misunderstood* his 'yoke of tyranny' speech and plans are hatching to somehow involve eggs...

by Ellen Mateer  |  No comments yet

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Teaching Shakespeare