“Remember who you are!” shouts the Duke of Amerle. But it is easy to forget you are the king of England when you’re losing power and control. When your cousin is leading a rebellion against you, campaigning for your crown, and your supporters are switching sides. But who is Richard II really? Well for a good four weeks he was a professional actor, performing at SDA’s Roundabout Theater. The Intrepid Shakespeare’s production of “Richard II” opened Feb. 25 and ran through March 20.
The actors may change but the story remains the same. King Richard’s II reckless time on the thrown and his demise is one of Shakespeare’s 10 historical plays on kings of England. Although the dialogue was hard to understand at times, it did not take away from the plot or timeless themes. The pride, lust for power, drastic actions, and harsh consequences make the play relatable and applicable to today’s audiences.
The Intrepid Shakespeare Company modernized “Richard II” as they did with their first production at SDA, “Romeo and Juliet.” The modernizing touches included the costumes, the props and, the way the lines were delivered. Instead of sporting tights and drinking from a wine goblet, Richard wore a velvet blazer, pants, Van-type-shoes, and drank beer from a plastic cup. Guns and cell phones were used instead of swords and messengers. And most impressively, the actors in “Richard II” put a lot of energy and inflection into their lines making them sound more modern and less like old English. Each actor delivered their lines differently, but still managed to keep with the iambic pentameter.
Instead of having a few SDA student interns in every performance like they did in “Romeo and Juliet,” the company selected more interns and set aside a special performance date just of them. The internship performance of “Richard II” was held on Mar. 20.