Richard III @ The Gallery Players Review by Frederick R. Stal
Featured photo: William Baldwin Young*, Nancy Rich, Katherine Puma*, Matthew Whitfield, RJ Foster* (photo by Bella Muccari)
The intimate venue Gallery Players proved to be the perfect forum for the classic Richard III, written by William Shakespeare. It was indeed reminiscent of what it may have been like during its first inception and earlier adaptations. Written around the year 1592, the story depicts the Machiavellian short rise and fall of King Richard III of England.
After a civil war between the royal family of York and the royal family of Lancaster, a historically famous feud, England enjoys a period of reprieve and peace under King Edward IV. Envy and jealousy brews in Richard. Being physically deformed, he makes up for with intelligence, manipulation, and political savvy. He even manages to manipulate a noblewoman, Lady Anne (Brittany Brooke) into marrying him. She is convinced to marry, despite knowing that Richard murdered her first husband.
Richard III (RJ Foster) steals the show, and Foster is no stranger to Shakespeare. Foster has been involved in a slew of theatrical adaptations of Shakespeare, such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Twelfth Night”, as well as “Othello” for which he received a Broadway World nomination for Best Actor. He received his BA in Theatre Performance from Fordham University at Lincoln Center NY. This wickedly delightful production was directed by Robin Leslie Brown. She has performed in most of Shakespeare’s canon, and does a thorough job which comes as no surprise given her experience. There is also a very notable fight scene, for which Rod Kinter is credited as Fight Director. Kinter serves as Resident Fight Director for Pearl Theatre Company.
King Richard III was the last king of the House of York, and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. Subsequently King Henry VII, Richard’s rival, became the first monarch of the Tudor dynasty which lasted until the beginning of the 17th century. This is historically significant while also a controversial play. Some scholars claim that Shakespeare portrayed Richard III in as negative a manner as possible, in line with the perceptions of the Tudor reign. Equally cunning as it is brilliant, Richard III is a must-see for any true lover of theater.
Gallery Players online: www.galleryplayers.com