Shakespeare's "Richard III" concludes his eight-part series about the struggle for the English Crown between 1399 and about 1485. Known as "The Wars of the Roses" from the symbols of the contending parties, it involved two factions led by different members of the Plantagenets, the ruling family from 1154 to 1485.
The long and at times brutal struggle brought forth a number of remarkably different characters. One of the most intriguing characters was Richard III. In depicting him, Shakespeare vividly portrays the effects of an unbridled ambition. Richard does almost anything to get the crown: He lies, he kills, he seduces, he feigns several different personalities, including those of almost child-like innocence, the amoral cunning of a Machiavelli and the devout, pious, humble Christian. He tells us "I am determined to be a villain; ... I can murder while I smile and act content about what grieves me most ... I can play the saint when acting like the devil." In the end, his enemies conspire to make Henry Tudor (Henry VlII's Father) king by challenging Richard to a decisive battle at Bosworth Field.
The Walden Theatre production stages the battle with skill; the smallness of the stage area is used to full advantage. One of the most remarkable portrayals is the scene when Richard seeks to sleep the night before. The ghosts of those he has killed converge on him and each pronounces his doom. Producer Nancy Niles Sexton has presented this scene with great skill, ably aided by her actors and actresses.
This cast, like other plays in Walden's brilliant 20-year history, is made up of talented youngsters in their teens. Ted Hommrich in the title role clearly depicts the chameleon and Machiavellian character of Richard with skill and poise. This role is a very daunting role but Hommrich is up to its demands and then some. It is almost impossible to rate all of the four feminine leads in any order of excellence: Becca Schlafer as Richard's mother, the 80-year-old Duchess of York; Margaret Glauber, the embittered widow of the previously deposed Henry VI; Jeni Jones, the wife and later widow of Richard's brother, Edward IV; Sarah Teeple, the widow of Henry and Margaret's son, Edward. One also recognizes for special salutes: Wesley Ramsey's Buckingham, for most of the play Richard's co-conspirator; Collin Smith's the overly confident member of Edward IV's inner circle, Lord Hastings.
The costuming was impressive and relevant. The technical staff and other acting roles also deserve high praise for this October 20 production, the first of six performances.
It is great to see Walden get the personal and corporate support it has but it will continue to welcome assistance from others.
Watch for its other productions during the present school year. Call 589-0084 for more information.
What do YOU know about the Ursuline School of Music and Drama? Now in its second quarter of a century serving our community, this school's "unique goal is to use teaching of the fine arts as a means of developing self-awareness and a sense of well-being through common experiences in private or group participation and interaction."
Anna Jo Paul directs the school's rich curriculum; it offers three programs in music: Music Appreciation, Performing Arts and Music Tec
hnology. Also available are Theatre and Dance Programs.
Ms. Paul brings 27 years of experience with theater and music. She brings highly qualified, innovative direction to the school. She heads a carefully chosen faculty of sixteen. The school follows a strict policy of non-discrimination. – Call 897-1816 for your copy of its brochure. And if you have any questions or wish to discuss any information in it, please feel free to initiate a meeting with Ms. Paul.