Following their successful “12th Night” at Roots Arts and Cultural Center last spring, the Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater is back there again, now with Shakespeare’s darkly comic history, “Richard III.”
Trist’s artistic director Bob Colonna gives the play a 2012 setting.
“Where? Well, right here in the bar, of course.” Popular Rhode Island actor Bobby Casey takes on the role of the “deformed, unfinished” fury of a man who plots, cheats, woos and murders his way to the throne. The play is a Grand Guignol of intrigue, chicanery, stranglings and other mayhem, including the smothering to death of the two young princes.
Joe Mecca is Richard’s sidekick in political crime, Buckingham, with Christopher Ferreira and David Kane as the henchmen who carry out various criminal activities from infanticide to posing as clergy. Mike Daniels is Richard’s cheerfully hapless brother Clarence, one of the first that has to go. Daniels also doubles as the sweetly simple Bishop of London.
The women in Richard’s life include Leann Heath as his miserably-married wife, Rosanna Cavanaugh as the ambitious young queen (Colonna makes a brief appearance as the sickly old king), with Carol Drowne as Richard’s very disappointed mother, Sara Meep DeAngelos as the career bedmate Jane Shore, and Meryn Flynn as mad old Margaret, the ex-queen, prophetess and a mistress of successful curses.
Robert H. Roy fills the dual roles of the dashing Hastings and of the soldier Richmond, who finally puts an end to Richard’s excesses. Mishel Lilly is the stoutly loyal Lieutenant Brakenbury, and Jonah King and Jasper Summers are the two young princes who meet their fatal end in the Tower of London.
Patrons are welcome to sit at tables and order drinks. Colonna has trimmed the script down to a comfortable two hours, including intermissions.
“Richard III” runs for nine performances only, opening Friday, Nov. 2 and playing Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.
Roots Arts and Cultural Center is located at 276 Westminster Street in the heart of downtown Providence. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at www.rootsprovidence.com/trist or by phoning 331-6118.