Drama Review–"Richard III"

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on October 18, 2009

I saw the play a couple of weeks ago at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. I love, and am a sucker for Shakespeare, and would encourage people to go see the play, but I don’t like the fact that significant portions of the dialogue were cut out; yes, I realize that this sort of thing goes on all the time, and that the play would have lasted for as much as five hours, instead of for a little under three in the current iteration. I don’t care; you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, and you don’t excise passages from Shakespeare. It is sacrilege to do so.

I will probably see the play again, since the lead was absent when I went, but I know that yet another abbreviated performance will leave me somewhat aggravated (to say the least). Additional aggravations: Modern day furniture, and rock music, despite the period costumes. I don’t know whose idea it was to dabble in traces of modernity in the play, but I didn’t like it. I am glad that at least, the costumes were of Shakespeare’s time, but the music and the props ought to have been as well. There was no point in taking a pinch of antiquity and mixing it with a dab of modernity. I am sure that someone found this choice to be edgy. I just found it to be puzzling.

Go to the play, by all means, but be prepared to have to grind your teeth at certain points. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater does good work, which is why I am so surprised that they chose to settle for less than an excellent production of Richard III.

Previous post:

Next post: