Richard III, widely considered to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, is opening The Shakespeare Company’s 15th season. A season ago, after moving into the Vertigo Theatre Centre at the base of the Calgary Tower, the Shakespeare Company performed Macbeth to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences. Richard III is no less ambitious.
Through ambition, jealousy, violence, and the Machiavellian art of grasping power, Richard III becomes a morally inverted character, a useless, hunchbacked runt, whose only quality is the determination “to prove a villain”. His only concern is for his accession to the throne of England, no matter the cost to human life. It is the final chapter in the War of the Roses, reflecting the ultimately dehumanizing culture of war. Richard III is inevitably reduced to a non-person, alone in the world, facing death on the battlefield. For all the destruction he caused to claim the throne, by the end, all he has left to say is, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” An all too human end to a pathetic, power-thirsty life.
The Shakespeare Company is under the artistic direction of Iam Coulter. They produce a regular season of plays in Calgary, as well as going on tour throughout western Canada. The Company is a non-profit and a registered charity. Adult tickets go for $27.50. The show runs at the Vertigo until April 23.
Photo by markhillary, http://www.flickr.com/photos/markhillary/4659320538