Grant Turner on family drama and black comedy

Tonight’s rehearsal (9/4)

Tonight we worked on the political heart of the first half of our play (Shakespeare’s act 2). The scenes involving the rivalry of the house of York and the Woodville’s.  These scenes are interesting to me. I always see them played as a continuation of Richard’s Machiavellian design. That by planting these seeds of discontent, fanning the flames of the rivalry for his own ends, he  is actually setting everyone up to mow them down. But in practice, that’s very hard to play. Or rather not very interesting to play. Upon re-examination  it seems a fascinating divergence from the main story rather than a continuation of Richard ‘s game.

And it seems Barry agrees. Rather than playing the scenes with a touch of feigned civility, and veiled suggestion of mistrust, he really encouraged me (and all of us for that matter) to wear our hatred for each other on our sleeves. In one scene he has us all together and we can barely look at each other we hate one another so much.  It made for a much more palpable reading, and, surprisingly, a much funnier reading.

Barry is mining all of the black comedy from this play that he can, and this sequence of scenes produced many laughs.

From Melissa’s crying, hysterical Elizabeth, Jason’s spiritually awakened King Edward, Paige’s crazy bag lady Margaret, or my own snorting hog of a Richard. There’s a lot to laugh at. But it’s nervous laughter, and we can and do go back and forth between comedy and horror at the drop of a hat.

So expect to laugh when you see the show. Just don’t get too comfortable…

A quick note on playing Richard. I don’t seem him as a psychopath really. I think he’s totally aware of what he’s doing and that he’s absolutely emotionally affected by his decisions. In fact, I think that makes him scarier in a way. He knows the emotional ramifications of his actions and he’s willing to go through with it all the same.  Certainly more interesting for me to play anyway…

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