by Vittorio Carli
The current First Folio production of “Richard III” is a first rate, handsome, and well mounted theatrical version of one of Shakespeare’s finest plays, “The Tragedy of King Richard III.”
As any literature buff knows, the story concerns a manipulative and cunning aristocrat who will stop at nothing to become the king. This includes sending loyal relatives to the gallows and seducing a woman he doesn’t love. He ends up betraying most of his accomplices and ideals, and ends up being defeated by his own feelings of guilt (which manifest themselves as visions of the people he killed).
This Richard is not made up to look as monstrous or grotesque as some of the other portrayals (Including Laurence Olivier’s), so the scene when he is wooing a woman is more convincing.
Kevin McKillip (he has also acted in Hamlet and As You Like It) is spellbinding in the title role. He is able to channel the underhanded conniving spirit of a real tyrant (Although many historians dispute the negative portrayal of Richard and they claim the exaggerated portrayal of I him came from one of his enemies). McKillip also resists the temptation to ham it up or overplay the role. He takes the audience and makes us confidants.
He is supported by a solid and talented cast including Lydia Berger (as the naive Elizabeth), Andrew Behling (as the naive and overly trusting Prince Edward), Ravi Batista (as Anne), and John Milewski (as the steady and loyal Rattcliffe).
The version features highly creative directing and staging Director Alison C. Vesley (the co-founder of the First Folio group) gets the most out of a before battle scene by having the antagonist and protagonist simultaneously on stage at the same time. She achieves a split screen effect like was popular in 70s Hollywood films.
“Richard III” is a multi dimensional and exciting theatrical presentation of the play that should please even the most seasoned critics and Shakespeare aficionados.
If you go
What: Richard III
When: ongoing through Aug. 12
Where: First Folio Shakespeare Festival at 31tst and Illinois Highway 83, Oak Brook
Tickets: $26 for adults. $21 for seniors and students
Web Site Office: www.firstfollio.org
Vittorio Carli teaches at Moraine Valley Community College, Richard J. Daley College, and Morton College. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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