Third Rail Rep Screens THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD THE SECOND and ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
On March 9th, Third Rail Repertory Theatre will screen The Tragedy of King Richard the Second and Antony & Cleopatra at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland. The performances were live-captured at London's National Theatre and will be screened in high-definition as part of Third Rail's National Theatre Live program, which brings the best of London Theatre to Portland audiences.
THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD THE SECOND
Shakespeare's Richard II starts his four history plays about the House of Lancaster. King Richard (who ruled from 1377-1399) is a weak monarch, indecisive and irresponsible. With the country on the verge of crisis, nobleman Bolingbroke challenges Richard for the throne, and eventually deposes him -an act which is viewed as the origin for the War of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster.
The play has recently been in the spotlight from the BBC's series The Hollow Crown, where Ben Whishaw played the troubled King Richard. (Indeed, the phrase 'the hollow crown' actually derives from the play itself, when Richard realizes that he is fallible and not protected by his perceived 'divine right' to be king.)
The Almeida's production, however, will be completely different from the period-costume, historically focused BBC adaptation. Director Joe Hill-Gibbins has worked with a specialist adaptor of Shakespeare to cut the original 3-hour long text down to 90 minutes. As a result, it hones in on the key struggle between Richard and the challenger Bolingbroke, in a tour-de-force of power play, back-stabbing and political maneuvering.
The production poses the question, 'When the country is on the brink of disaster, who is the right person to take charge -and should we trust them?'-which feels like a very pertinent question for our modern times. The aesthetic is stripped-back and contemporary, with all the actors performing within a white box (Richard's physical and mental 'prison'), and with only one prop on stage -the Crown.
Playing the title role is Simon Russell Beale, one of Britain's finest Shakespearean actors and a regular at the National Theatre and the RSC. NT Live audiences may recognize Simon from his brilliant performances in the 2012 broadcast of Timon of Athens and the 2014 broadcast of King Lear. He is a two-time Olivier Award-winner.
ANTONY & CLEOPATRA
Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare's famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power.
The National Theatre's autumn blockbuster, receiving multiple 5-star reviews, is slick, stylish and modern. Featuring a huge revolving set (including a swimming pool on stage), gorgeous Beyonce-inspired costumes, and real snakes on stage, Antony & Cleopatra is a theatrical event not to be missed.
In the aftermath of Julius Caesar's assassination, General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. Having neglected his political duties whilst in Egypt, Antony returns to Rome, to attempt to restore his political position. Torn between his duty to Rome and his devotion to Cleopatra, Antony's actions spark a war which threatens to destroy their love.
Director Simon Godwin returns to National Theatre Live screens with this hotly anticipated production, following broadcasts of Twelfth Night, Man and Superman and The Beaux' Stratagem.
Tickets Available: By phone at 503-235-1101 or online at thirdrailrep.org.