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.)

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