In random places across campus, students may see a large cut-out of a scarred and hunchbacked man making a grimacing face. This person-sized poster is an advertisement for the theatre department’s upcoming performance of Shakespeare’s, Richard III on Nov. 15, and 17 through 21 at 7:30 pm and on Nov. 17 at 2:00 pm in the Multi-Purpose Room in the University Union.
“We try to do a Shakespeare play every year,” explained Dr. David Skeele, the director of Richard III. “I always try to look for the contemporary relevance.”
According to Skeele, Richard III has an underlying theme of society’s importance of appearance because of how the scarred Richard is constantly comparing himself to the vain and shallow culture that surrounds him.
Malic Williams, 22, a junior theatre, acting major, plays the role of Richard and described how he focused more on the pain that Richard felt as a human, not just the pain from his physical disabilities.
“It was a good challenge to be able to portray someone so low and shallow, while they are trying to keep up with society,” Williams said. “It was a struggle to find the balance between his crutch and being evil.”
Skeele further explains how Richard III is a play that focuses on how vain and shallow today’s culture can be, and this is seen particularly in the production.
“We have decided to make the characters aside from Richard very high fashion,” Skeele explained. All of the costumes and make up are elaborate, and the men’s wardrobe and make up is very metrosexual, Skeele described.
According to Skeele, another reason that this Shakespeare play was chosen was the variety of roles that are in this production. He explained that there are three to four strong female roles that give the department’s actresses a part in this production.
One of the challenges that Skeele faced with this production is cutting down the script from a four-hour production to only 90 minutes without an intermission, he explained.
“We cut it down to be a lean and mean production of Richard III,” Skeele described.
What makes this production unique is utilizing other departments to help make the production different from past performances, according to Skeele.
The art department supplied a team of animators, Skeel explained, that created original animations and drawings for the production. The animations are used to bring parts of the play that happen off stage to the audience, including the big battle scene, Skeele explained.
According to Skeele, they are also implementing some video by videographer Chalice Streitman.
“One of the main houses in the play, the House of York, markets themselves as more of a fashion house and that is why they rule,” Skeele explained. So the video is being used to create commercials for the House of York and they are being displayed throughout the production, Skeele said.
The audience should not come to the play expecting any regular Shakespeare play.
“If they have ever seen one of my productions of classic texts, the audience should know to expect the unexpected,” Skeele said.
Skeele further explained that he makes all of the productions performed their own and never copies someone. He stated that he creates the productions around the resources and actors that he has available.
“This is my favorite production so,” Williams expressed enthusiastically. “I also do the PR for it and I want people to see it defy the laws of theatre.”