Grant Turner on how Richard has changed

A few thoughts on playing Richard during the run…

One of the most interesting discoveries for me on the path to finding the character of Richard was the realization that he’s not necessarily the smartest person in the room.  He’s the boldest person in the room, the most focused person in the room, certainly has more energy than anyone else in the room, but smartest? Nah, that’s Buckingham, or the Duchess, or even Elizabeth in their final confrontation. Richard’s genius comes in his ability to stay open to possibility and to pounce and the first sign of weakness. He’s unrelenting, “a hunter” as director Barry Kyle described him to me.

A few other thoughts…
The first image Barry and I conceived, that of the war vet, sitting outside the VA, beer in hand, wondering how he would fit in to this time of peace, has almost disappeared, but some remnants remain. The provocateur, the button pusher, the politically incorrect shaker of peace and decorum, is still there.

I really like that we play the tragedy of this play. It’s not a dry, period piece, of an English history play. It’s a balls to the wall, no stone unturned exploration of the pain and destruction of civil war. We toyed with the idea early on that maybe Richmond wasn’t any better than Richard but quickly realized that wasn’t worth playing. The audience needs to know that the horror is over (for now at least).

There’s a tragic element for Richard too. To me, Richard (keeping the animal metaphor we developed in rehearsal) is like a rabies victim. He starts the play in some recognizable semblance of a human being, then slowly but surely, he descends into madness. We see hints of humanity (particularly that night in Bosworth) but ultimately, he must be put down. Maybe if his mother loved him more. Maybe if he didn’t hate himself so much, maybe if he didn’t lose his purpose once the war came to an end, things could have turned out differently for him. But once he starts down his path, and after he wipes out half of the cast in the process, there is no choice but to kill him.

So that’s Richard to me. He’s not a mustache- twirling, intellectual, Machiavelli. He’s an opportunistic, relentless, predatory, disease.  And I think, in the end, even he knows that he has to be stopped…

-Grant Turner, Richard

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