By John Farrell
Long Beach Shakespeare Company may be small. Its Richard Goad Theatre up on Atlantic in north Long Beach is really a converted storefront, with parking for the actors in back and a dressing room upstairs. It seats perhaps seventy when over-full.
But Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s artistic heart is large, ambitious, seeking to produce, even in its humble circumstances, full versions of some of the Bard of Avon’s most critically acclaimed works. A few months ago it was King Lear, which featured a full and effective cast in one of the most difficult of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
This month they did something a little less daunting, that great melodrama Richard III, memorable from several film portrayals and the relatively recent news that that king’s remains, lost when he was defeated at Bosworth field hundreds of years ago at the end of the War of Roses, had been found and re-interred in York Cathedral, as befitted a king who was on the wrong end of Tudor history.
Richard III is not history. Shakespeare lived in a Tudor world and his story is based on the Tudor view of matters: Richard was a hunchback and a murderer who had everyone close to him killed and married the wife of a man, who he had murdered. He is evil, even a little slimy, and he is willing to tell the audience directly what he is planning and doing, how he intends to become king despite his deformity and how he intends to have love (or at least sex) even though he is unsightly. (more…)Read More