Get ready for swords and action as the Minnesota State University, Mankato Theatre Program debuts William Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’ on Oct. 20. This play is full of fight scenes and old, Shakespearean language.
Richard of Gloucester, who is envious and unwell, wants to rule England and thus employs trickery and manipulation to get there. To become King Richard III, he kills his siblings, nephews, and anybody who stands in his way.
Dr. Heather Hamilton is the director of this play and is excited for students to see it. She thinks of this play as a warning to people.
“It’s a warning to make sure that since we have the luxury of getting to choose our leaders, we better choose them carefully and make sure we’re not choosing people who think that facts are optional or that government exists to serve the self,” said Hamilton. “We have this amazing luxury of democracy, which is a warning about what happens if we don’t take it seriously.”
The play falls ironically close to an important voting season.
Hamilton has wanted to put on this show for a while because of her passion for Shakespearean literature.
“I love all things Shakespeare, and this history is so juicy,” said Hamilton. “The TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ is based on this family line, so attaching that dynasty is way more horrible than anything in the book.”
The show’s lead, Grey Robertson, is doing this play for his thesis as a third-year student aiming for his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre degree. But that is not his main reason for doing this show; he likes the challenge of this role and the message the play sends to the audience.
“The message of this play, which I think is just so strong for right now in our world, [is that] there seems to be a running [of] strong men political figures. [In] Italy, and here in America, and everywhere, is this essence for it,” said Robertson. “Strong men characters always come up when things are hard, and they give easy answers. So I think it’s just a really good statement on that and a great statement against tyranny and despotism.”
Robertson also had to learn how to fight with a sword.
“It was intimidating at first because the play is so big, and you have so much to it – in the history and all these things, and then the language. And then it’s like, ‘there’s gonna be this huge battle scene’,” said Robertson. “I was underwater at that time, and then you start doing it, and things start to come together.”
Cadence Smith, a second-year theatre major, plays the Duchess of York and Henry of Richmond. She likes playing both characters as it is the best of both worlds.
“I think the Duchess is very fun. I feel like I’ve got the best of both worlds because I get to kind of have the fun dress, and I get to play this regal mother,” said Smith. “Then I also get to have a sword because Henry Richmond is the big bad guy kind of the good guy, I guess. He stabs people with swords.”
She encourages students to come to see the show.
“I think it’s great for the spooky season, Halloween season; spooky stuff going on,” said Smith. “If people haven’t seen Shakespeare before, I feel this is a great introduction.”
‘Richard III’ runs Oct. 20-22 and 26-29 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 23, 29, and 30 at 2 p.m. in the Andreas Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $17 regular, $15 for seniors ages 65 and older, and children under 16. For MSU students, tickets will be $5.
Students can find more information about tickets and other upcoming shows on the MSU website, so they do not miss out on the Shakespeare takeover.
Header Photo: (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)
Write to Lauren Viska at firstname.lastname@example.org