Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter's Discontent

Shakespeare's 'Richard III' - now in a splendid new production at Washington's Folger Shakespeare Theatre - - says it best in his ominous opening lines about winter being the time of 'our discontent,' thereby labeling his own and England's (read you and the USA)  political and atmospheric situation as something less than ideal.
Indeed, we are now fully into the current season's unpredictable blasts of weather and woe. But why lose heart when there are such inventive and absorbing stagings of the classics to be seen locally? The staging of the play, which runs through March 9, 2014, is magnificent - on a par with the performance by New York actor Drew Cortese in the title role. For the first time in its history, the Folger is transformed into a theater-in-the-round with fantastic light and sound in an innovative design that gives Arena Stage a tough competitor. (It led one critic to state off-the-cuff, how Arena now looks "more suburban" than urban - ie a bit old-fashioned and staid.) Audiences should rally to this work to marvel at the scene while they ponder the grim moral of the gruesome tale. Do unto others as they would do unto you, at least in these historic royal precincts, and you end up quite dead.

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