Real Richard III vs. Shakespeare’s Arch Villain

Note: this was originally published Aug. 30, 2012 on my blog: Random Thoughts of an Accidental Author.

A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting Emily Mattina, Artistic Director of Shakesperience because the company was about to put on a production of Richard III by William Shakespeare. But unlike most people involved in Shakespearean productions, Emily is keenly aware that the play is a very negative spin on Richard, who from most contemporary accounts was a good king. Emily had wanted to consult with someone knowledgeable about the real Richard III and was put in contact with me through my local library. We came to the conclusion that it would be wrong to change Richard’s character in the play—it should stay true to Shakespeare’s vision. Instead, we developed a discussion where we contrasted Richard III as he’s depicted in primary sources to the Shakespearean version that we presented prior to two productions of the play. The first was given on June 29th at the Barnes and Noble in Waterbury, CT. The second was presented at McLaughlin Vineyards on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. The following video was filmed at this second discussion. The five parts of the video can be seen on YouTube.

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