Monday, April 4, 2016
Review of The Gift Theatre's Richard III at The Steppenwolf Garage
I felt like Thornton was a very believable actor. I never felt like I could relate to Richard's kind of character before, or understand where he was coming from. But I felt like I really did in this show because of how he did his direct address. He did it sincerely and you could kind of understand where he was coming from. I didn't like the character's choices, but I did understand him. Most of the time he didn't seem very Shakespearean; he seemed very modern. If you didn't know that this was by Shakespeare, you might think it was written more recently, which I think is really cool. Thornton is using Shakespeare's language, but he speaks it as if that is how he spoke every day. The ghost scene at the end was the only time I felt disconnected from Richard. It is possible that that is what they were going for because it is a really weird scene. Richard is tired and seemed slightly more typically Shakespearean and there is paranormal activity, so that makes it a lot harder to believe. But overall I really did like the performance.
Margaret (Shanésia Davis) I think was the most sympathetic character in the show. She had gone crazy because of the death of her husband Henry VI. And she was also really cool because she could curse people. I liked that because she was kind of like a witch but not exactly because she did it for a good reason. This is the first witch I have seen in a Shakespeare play who was not evil. At first she is not very powerful; she has been banished. But then she starts cursing people and then eventually people start taking her seriously. I think that it is good to have a powerful woman character in the show because most of the powerful people are men. I'm not saying it is a feminist play at all, but it is good to have some female character that has some kind of power in a show that was written that long ago.
I thought that Young York (Brittany Burch) and Young Edward (Hannah Toriumi) might have been more believable and more sympathetic if they were portrayed by actual young boys. I think a lot of companies are scared to work with kids because they think they will be little monsters all the time and won't be productive. But by the experience I have had in theater with kids, if you get the right ones and in the audition make sure they understand direction and will be good to work with, then I think you can avoid making women pretend to be young boys, which can make the characters seem less realistic. I think I am the person who is most sensitive to this kind of casting because I'm a kid. A lot of people probably it didn't bother them.
People who would like this show are people who like murderous courtship strategies, believable villains, and crazy banished witches. I think that people should go see this show. I feel like it was a really cool, awesome, and new version of Richard III. I thought it was fun and afterwards I am still thinking a lot about it.
Photos: Claire Demos
Posted by Ada & Mom at 2:56 PM