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Richard II by Shakespeare – A fallen politcal star

Richard II by William Shakespeare – A fallen political star

Recent political fluctuations in New Zealand and the United States provided inspiration for an upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s political tragedy Richard II.

Set in the context of a 1930s carnival—dirty, dark and unreliable—third year Theatre students from Victoria University will tackle the challenges of the popular tragedy Richard II, which sees a sovereign King struggle to maintain power amidst shifting loyalties and the turn of fortune’s wheel.

Part of Shakespeare’s history play sextet, Richard II is the tale of a man unfit to be King and unable to control events as they conspire against him. Loyalties shift as lines are drawn in the sand and personal and political safety is put before anything else.

Directors, David O’Donnell and Rachel Lenart were inspired to direct Richard II while watching coverage of last year’s election campaigns in New Zealand and the United States.

“Richard’s fall from grace seemed to have many parallels in the real world as voters criticised and ejected formerly popular leaders George Bush and Helen Clark,” says Mr O’Donnell.

A carnival setting seemed perfect for a play about the circus-like political process. “The pomp and ceremony of the US campaign, the Winston Peters circus and the media circus surrounding the leaders—in all of this we see parallels with Richard II,” says Mr O’Donnell.

Richard II incorporates art direction and unique design elements courtesy of third year Theatre design students, under the guidance of experienced Theatre Designer and Technical officer James Davenport.

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Richard II is presented as part of the Shakespeare Compleate Workes Festival 2009. For a full timetable of events visit www.compleateworkes.co.nz.

What: Richard II by William Shakespeare, directed by David O’Donnell and Rachel Lenart

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 2 June to Saturday 6 June 2009

Where: Studio 77, 77 Fairlie Terrace, Kelburn (Gate 10 of Victoria University)

Tickets: $8 unwaged / $15 waged

To Book: email theatre@vuw.ac.nz or call 04 463 5359

 

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