Bill Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, has always been a play about duality. Done right, it is a fun play, juxtaposing equal doses of black humor with rich, high octane melodrama. It’s also a tough, balancing act and, perhaps for this reason, its usually not anybody’s idea of first choice when tackling the Bard, but I suspect Indiana director and actor Tristan Ross revels in the challenge.
Ross has brought his post-modern, bare-boned, minimalist adaptation to the local IndyFringe Theater at 719 East St. Clair in Indianapolis, where it plays Thursday-Sunday until January 24. This Richard III is the first of Ross’ planned series of cutting edge, contemporary Shakespeare plays with his “No Holds Bard Productions.” If Richard goes well, Ross hopes to tackle Julius Caesar.
Ross’ adaptation is a concept-heavy Richard III, employing eight actors for fifteen roles. Taking dualist themes to a refreshing extreme, Ross has issued his artist statement from his No Holds Bard website, “The characters all represent duality and I’ve done my best to make it as much of an ensemble piece as possible; that is, reducing Richard and strengthening the rest. The duality is a reflection on Richard’s dual nature. Every character is cast with a double. For instance, one actor will play Elizabeth and Hastings. Elizabeth is compassionate, sympathetic, and aware of Richard’s treason. Hastings is competitive, vindictive, and believes Richard is her ally.”
Does Ross’ concept work? For the most part, yes. He has clearly thought the play Continue reading POSTMODERN MINIMALIST SHAKESPEARE AT THE LOCAL INDY FRINGE