SHAKESPEARE ALOUD

Richard III – Act I, Scene 1 at the New York Stock Exchange

And we’re off! The whole play in two days all at various sites in New York’s financial district. One can’t get inside the trading floor of the stock exchange without permission (a post-9/11 rule), but we got the outside, featuring the lovely statue of George Washington (apropos of this first scene as you will see), and several unwilling spectators. Thanks Gabe Vaughan for the taping and camera – note the much (much much much) better video/audio quality for this play!

Pretty breathtaking to be undertaking this play – not only because the language seems suddenly more sophisticated (though still with the on-the-sleeve playfulness of the Henry VI’s), but because, (how do I say this gently), it seems that the shittier the world becomes (politically, morally), the more timely this play becomes. I thought Bush II was going to usher in the ultimate Richard III renaissance, but boy do the productions keep coming. Kevin Spacey’s is in town at BAM at the moment. Mark Rylance will make on at the Globe this summer. Dick the Turd, as I like to call him, is everywhere.

And this place, with the hyper-relevancy of the Occupy movement, the bank bailouts, the tail wagging the dog – I find each scene sprinkled with resonant passages. This first scene is just full of them, and as I say above with the GW statue – even George Washington could be corrupted in the public eye, thrown into the Tower, and obliterated today. You need more than wooden teeth and a smart wig to stay ahead of the Humpback of JP Morgan Chase…

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