Thursday, June 02, 2005

Some Notes on Richard III: Take 1

Gandalf, Darth Vader, and Richard III

I've been reading Richard III and watching Ian McKellan’s 1995 filmed version of the same. The story is practically a one-man play. Yet it isn't. MaKellan uses a thirties Nazi-like backdrop for Richard's rise to power. But Shakespeare knew the issue wasn't only evil, but rather our complicit acquiescence to it (for power always). Richard will prove himself the villain, but those around him perform its reckoning.

After a Darth Vader-like prequel, McKellan’s Richard delivers the opening soliloquy, “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York,” beginning as a toast-like speech on the bandstand, and finishing it in the men’s room "determined to prove a villain." Again, appropriate. There’s always this duality with Richard. An outside persona and the inner dark side.

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