Sunday, April 21, 2013

Richard III: Born With Teeth @ The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater

               Shakespeare's plays have been done all over New York and the world for as long as anyone can remember. Tired of the same old Shakespeare productions?The 15th-century English monarch Richard III is back in vogue after the discovery of his bones in a British parking lot last year. Epic Theatre Ensemble presents Richard III: Born With Teeth, a contemporary take on William Shakespeare's Richard III, at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

              The overall cast was made up of about ten actors playing a grand total of about thirty roles. James Wallert (Othello Off-Broadway) leads the cast as the title role of Richard III, the revenge seeking and crippled villain. Wallert sends shivers down the audience's spine every time he is hatching one of his devious plans although there was no way to that he was crippled until he took off his shirt, which is the driving forces of a lot of Richard's motives. Melissa Friedman (Much Ado About Nothing Off-Broadway) as Elizabeth, overall Friedman was very boring to watch and her scenes and monologues were very daunting to sit through. Lanna Joffrey (Measure for Measure at the Public) played the haunting peanut gallery Margaret. Something that was interesting about this production is that they brought Margaret into it and made her presence more then known. In the play previous to this one Margaret dies and leaves a curse and so her constant presence and flashbacks really made the action on stage really stand out. Joffrey took the stage and made sure the audience knew she was there with stealing attention, very haunting and creepy. Carra Paterson (Wit) played the lovely Lady Anne. Paterson had the audience rooting for her during the scene when Richard is hitting on her but she also had the audience feeling bad for her when everything turns around on her.

              Talk about theater on a budget and there was no way to hide it, but this team worked with what they had and it payed off. Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams did the set design, The set was a very pale grey consisting of some levels and two columns, making it easy for the locations and movement easy for the actors. Cat Tate Starmer did the very interesting light design. This contemporary interpretation relied heavily on the drastic light changes to pass time along with intense rock music from Ron Russell's intense sound design. Ron Russell also directed this interpretation and might have missed the bar ever so slightly with these design choice. Because of the fast changes and awkward movement, it made the play very hard to follow at some points.  

                So if you are looking for something new and dont want to sit through another same old long Shakespeare play check out Richard III: Born With Teeth, a contemporary take on William Shakespeare's Richard III, plays at the Pershing Square Signature Center until May 4th.

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