Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Richard III”

Rethinking Richard


My usual method of taking on a new Shakespeare play is through immersion by multitudinous pathway: reading it, watching it live and an adaptation, listening to an audio play, and for good measure, a simpler version such as a graphic nivel. For some reason Richard III has fallen on my path and I keep tripping over him on my way to brighter choices like Twelfth Night or Much Ado.

I suppose it began with hints of Richard. After all, I wasn’t particularly attracted to this rotter of a king whose “bunched back toad” appearance served as a metaphor for his morals. Family get togethers must have been terribly strained when he showed up at the table, having offed brothers, and nephews and not even showing a drop of remorse. 

I think the interest began with Terry Jones’ superb Medieval history series when he mentioned Richard’s deformities probably weren’t true. Well, that’s the Bard for you, isn’t it? Making metaphors out of molehills, or just moles. I got your back took on a different once penned and crowned.

I came stumbled upon Ian Holm’s teledrama years ago, but it was so horribly dreary I didn’t think about Richard until recently. All of a sudden there a Richard factor emerged: skeletons, a steamy Philippa adaptation, Benedict’s Hollow Crown, Mark Rylance’s stand up comic version, with Sir Ian’s despotic 1930’s cinematic splash tossed into the mix.

And then I came upon Joshephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time in which the history of Richard becomes  a whodunnit or in this case, didhedoit?

The hubs pointed out that the Shakespeare in the Park production this year will be–who guessed it, Richard III.

I’m still not a fan of Richard, in fact, I’m not sure I’m richer with my wealth of Richard. I do appreciate the Bard all the more because he convinced people for hundreds of years that Richard was a “bottled spider” and with imagery like that, why believe anything else? 

Richard is right up there with King Lear for body count and tragical consequences of bad kingmanship.  I’m not quite ready to take on Lear. One dysfunctional king at a time, thanks. Here are a few Richards of contemplation. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/9837887/Richard-III-15-actors-who-have-played-the-hunchback-king.html?image=14

What plays are on your TGTK (to get to know) list?

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