Flatwater Shakespeare's Blog News

My Photo
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Friday, August 29, 2008

Support Us Through Thank You Tuesday!

Flatwater Shakespeare is being supported by A Novel Idea Bookstores this fall through their Thank You Tuesday program!

Every Tuesday A Novel Idea contributes three percent of their gross sales to a charitable organization. They hope to increase awareness about these organizations while providing financial support. They offer their customers a chance to contribute through their purchases – giving back to the community while getting the books they love.

We are grateful to A Novel Idea for making Flatwater the latest beneficiary of Thank You Tuesday. We encourage all Flatwater friends to visit A Novel Idea (and Silas the Cat, pictured above) each Tuesday – they have a great Drama section, by the way!

A Novel Idea has two locations –

Lincoln: 118 N. 14th St., Lincoln, NE 68508. Phone: 402-475-8663. Open: Monday-Saturday, 10am - 6pm & Sunday 1pm - 5pm.
Brownville: 117 Main St., Brownville, NE 68321. Phone: 402-825-3974. Open: Thursday - Sunday, 11am - 4pm (April - December).

Visit their website: anovelideabookstore.com – especially their Philanthropy page.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Merciless But Seductive

Before there was the Joker, there was Richard Crookback, Shakespeare’s charismatic Machiavellian prince. The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents Richard III, featuring the Bard’s best-loved villain, in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln, beginning Thursday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Performances continue Friday through Sunday, September 12-14; and Thursday through Sunday, September 18-21 and 25-28. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Call 473-2897 for reservations.

Flatwater’s Richard III presents Brad Boesen in the title role, Shakespeare’s fascinating study of the pursuit of power at all costs. Director and designer Bob Hall has set the production at the turn of the last century, stressing the play’s applicability to all times as it warns audiences about ends supposedly justifying means, about imprisonment and punishment as political weapons, and about the dangers of ignoring our shared humanity.

After generations of civil conflict, England looks forward to some peace and stability in the reign of Edward IV (Richard Sibley), leader of the Yorkist faction. But Edward’s youngest brother stays in the winter of his personal discontent while his family triumphs. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, wants to be king himself and will do anything to gain the crown and to consolidate his hold on it.

A strange thing happens during Richard’s campaign of deceit and murder. He confides in us, the audience – making us unwitting accomplices in his rise to power. Just as we are attracted to later villains, like Heath Ledger’s compelling Joker in the movie The Dark Knight, we are drawn toward Shakespeare’s merciless but seductive Richard.

Other voices compete with Richard’s charming arguments. We hear from Margaret (Juanita Pat Rice), widow of the king that Richard murdered. We hear from Anne (Sally Vandeberghe), widow of that king’s son, who is wooed by Richard for his own wife. We hear from Elizabeth (Mary Bolin), eventual of Richard’s brother. We hear from Richard’s own mother, the Duchess of York (Judith K. Hart), appalled by her son even before his brutal campaign. And in time we hear from Richard’s many victims – adversaries, allies, and kindred alike – who stood in his way.

Juanita Pat Rice makes her return to Lincoln theater after a long absence. Among several previous portrayals, she played Gertrude in a notable University of Nebraska-Lincoln production of Hamlet, directed by William R. Morgan and featuring one Bob Hall as Polonius.

Other performers in Richard III include Flatwater regulars Paden Alexander, Justin Baldinger, Rob Burt, Sam Colwell, George Hansen, and Dick Nielsen. Newcomers to the ensemble are Scott Herr, Chloe Kessler, Lindsey Peters, and Harper Wilmouth. Costumes are by Kat Cover, with fight choreography by Will Cover.

Flatwater Shakespeare is in its fourth year as a professional non-profit theatre company, bringing to Lincoln audiences the richness of the works of William Shakespeare as they were meant to be experienced – played out by a dynamic ensemble of performers on stage.

Again, call 473-2897 to reserve tickets.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Determined to Prove a Villain

As we prepare for the Flatwater Shakespeare Company production of Richard III, with Brad Boesen in the title role, let’s see how other actors have opened the play as Shakespeare’s best-loved villain.

This YouTube post –

– presents three Richards and their initial soliloquies.

Ron Cook appears in a BBC television production, directed by Jane Howell in 1983. This version followed the three plays about King Henry VI and used the same actors throughout – revealing how Richard emerges from the chaos of civil war.

Jonathan Slinger (seen above) is in rehearsal for a Royal Shakespeare Company production in 2007, directed by Michael Boyd, which was reprised as part of a Histories season at Stratford and London in Spring 2008 – presenting both of Shakespeare’s tetralogies (four-play sequences) in repertory.

Ian McKellen recreates his performance in the 1990 Royal National Theatre production, directed by Richard Eyre, for this 1995 film version directed by Richard Loncraine (from a screenplay by McKellen himself).