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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Richard Reviewed

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

The play’s script is a delight to absorb . . . that is why it is so pleasing that the Flatwater Shakespeare Company is closing out its summer season under the stars with Shakespeare’s Richard III . . . because the power-hungry and incredibly evil Richard affords an actor the opportunity to craft a performance that – while taxing – can display a wealth of theatrical depth.

Brad Boesen [at first] calmly delivers an introspective portrayal of the black prince. Slowly and carefully, the actor [shifts] toward a more furious and manic level.

Solid performances also are delivered by Rob Burt (Duke of Clarence and Earl of Richmond), Judith Hart (Duchess of York), Sally Vandeberghe (Lady Anne), and Juanita Pat Rice (Queen Margaret) [and her] stately and stylish performance . . .

Dick Nielsen (Duke of Buckingham and 2nd Murderer) and George Hansen (Lord Hastings and Tyrell) offer sterling support.

[As the reviewer says:] Don’t miss this!

The remaining performances run Thursday–Sunday, September 21 and 25-28.

Call 473-2897 to reserve tickets.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hail the Conquering Villain

Can he do this and cannot get a crown?

Brad Boesen is remarkable as Shakespeare’s King Richard III.

Boesen commands the stage from first to almost last, at Richard’s demise.

During Richard’s rise to power, Boesen lets the audience know how the character could be so persuasive, convincing, and seductive to even the most savvy and experienced political players on the scene. Boesen’s Richard charms the other characters, as he charms the audience.

Just as impressively, Boesen shows the limits of Richard’s charm and the faltering of his drive and discernment once he has achieved the crown. Richard has relied so heavily the Duke of Buckingham, that without his ally he can no longer maneuver as confidently as he once could. Instead, he resents his past dependence on the Duke.

As Buckingham, Dick Nielsen is a consummate politician – a deft actor and director not for the stage but in plays for power. Together, Richard and Buckingham are unbeatable. The end of their alliance, though, hastens the end of their lives. (Nielsen also contributes a memorable turn as a conscience-stricken Murderer.)

The rest of the ensemble contributes admirably to a fast-paced, thoroughly engaging drama.

Don’t miss an extraordinary evening of theater, as the Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents Bob Hall’s production of Richard III. The remaining performances run Thursday–Sunday, September 18-21 and 25-28, 7:30 at the Swan Theatre at Wyuka, 3600 "O" Street in Lincoln.

Call 473-2897 to reserve tickets!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Richard's Regal Women

Because the title character is so engagingly evil, Richard III is sometimes considered a "One Man" show. Through its stage history, it’s regularly been edited (starting with Colley Cibber and continuing through Laurence Olivier and Al Pacino) to fit that concept.

But Shakespeare’s play goes beyond the solitary anti-hero and beyond a purely male perspective. In Bob Hall’s Flatwater production, four of Shakespeare’s most remarkable female characters are portrayed by four gifted actresses.

Juanita Pat Rice appears as Queen Margaret, survivor of the Lancaster regime and a living guilty conscience for the members of the York faction who, for now, triumph over her.

Sally Vandeberghe plays the Lady Anne, Margaret’s daughther-in-law and widow of Edward, the Lancastrian Prince of Wales. Anne must face all the emotional, psychological, and political weapons that Richard – her husband’s murderer – aims her way, as he seeks to claim her for himself.

Mary Bolin portrays Elizabeth, wife to Richard’s brother, the Yorkist King Edward. Under suspicion and attack from much of Edward’s family, she and her sons and daughter are in serious jeopardy after Edward’s death.

Judith K. Hart appears the Duchess of York, the matriarch of the new dynasty. Her own husband had been murdered by the Lancastrians, but her moment of victory is brief. She loses one son to illness. She loses another son and two grandsons to Richard’s cruel campaign to seize the crown.

The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents Richard III 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.

(Photo by John Nollendorfs.)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Leaning on Larry

Laurence Olivier’s film production of Richard III, in glorious 1955 colour, is justly famous:

But some actors have found it difficult to get past this illustrious portrayal. In Kenneth Branagh’s A Midwinter’s Tale (1995), for example, several audition pieces betray the heavy influence of Olivier’s performance as Richard:

Rest assured, Flatwater's Richard of Gloucester, Brad Boesen, is very much his own man. See him as Shakespeare's first great "supervillain" (as director Bob Hall calls him) starting this Thursday, September 11, 7:30 p.m., at the Swan at Wyuka!

To reserve tickets, call 473-2897.