Richard III: one woman Shakespeare for our times

One-Woman Shakespeare Richard III

Director Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir's adaptation is presented in a challenging format

Shakespeare is so often an easy choice for theatre companies looking to ruffle their audiences with the unexpected. But Brite Theater's one-woman Richard III is certainly a sprightly adaptation of a classic that finds a contemporary angle. 'We have people like Trump and May in power,' says director Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir. 'And it is obvious that they are not the most worthy or trusted leaders or even the most popular, but a flaw in our democratic systems mean that whoever is the hungriest for power can get it. So an exploration of how people get to the top in politics and whether we are responsible for our leaders as a society is very timely, I think.'

The political intention of the work, however, is presented within a challenging format: Shakespeare's script is adapted to a solo (played by the show's co-creator Emily Carding), and the audience is invited to become part of the event, with Richard becoming a lively, personable character, and more than just a tyrant on the stage. The fourth wall is not so much broken as completely ignored, and with Richard on the prowl, this might become confrontational.

'Richard gives out name-tags and characters,' Sigfúsdóttir explains. 'He seats you. He addresses you directly and he will shake your hand or answer your phone if it goes off.' This intimacy comes from the company's desire to provide 'an experience, meaning that it happens to them, rather than that they witness the events of the play. We want to make them a part of the world and to live within the play for an hour.'

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 10–Sat 14 Apr

Richard III

Breaking new ground in Shakespearean performance, Brite Theater re-imagine Richard III as a one-woman show.

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