We have just returned, stirred up and panting, from the last rehearsal of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre's staging of Richard III. Our forty-minute immersion thrilled us more than we expected: The sharp acting was consistent and in sync—a hardly inevitable result in Shakespeare productions where many distinct drummers are often heard in heads of a large cast. Also, because we were allowed to watch and hear from onstage, we felt as if we were eavesdropping on neighbors: All line-readings were audible and clear, and this added naturalness and oomph to our spectating. Such dynamics are noteworthy since Reynolds Auditorium at UCA (where all showings of Richard III will be held) is prone to muffling the performers. Of course, we lucky few in the press obtain onstage access through our press passes and those of you in the seats will hear and feel something entirely different, right? Not this year! The stroke of genius with the AST version of Richard III is that all audience members will be seated onstage. You all will experience just what we did: intimacy and clarity—and your own beating hearts.
Prediction: The best Shakespeare production to hit Central Arkansas?
Showtimes for Richard III:
Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, June 20 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 1 at 1:00 pm
(For more info: http://arkshakes.com)
Photos from the last dress rehearsal (15 June 2012) of Richard III:
After the Richard III rehearsal, we skipped across town to the family-friendly environs of Hendrix Village and a high-energy production of Twelfth Night, which was instantly likable. One-word review: "Dy-no-mite!"
Next showings: Friday, June 22, Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24, at 7:30 pm at Wildwood Park in Little Rock.
Here are some photos: