COURTESY OF THE HAMPSHIRE SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
Hampshire Shakespeare Company, established in 1991, is
presenting Richard III
outside at the Hartsbrook School in
Hadley, a Shakespeare worthy venue complete with rolling green pastures and meandering cows in the
Richard III is a dark comedy about the Duke of Gloucester who has
designs on the crown of England, and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal (he kills off
practically his entire family). Stephen Eldridge plays Richard in this production, and arms the
character with a sense of humor that is refreshing and unexpected, while still indulging the madness
that Richard the despot is known for.
A shining scene in this production (pictured) is the wooing of
Lady Anne (played by Lindsay Stone) by Richard while she is mourning the death of her husband who
was slain by Richard's hand. Stone takes Lady Anne on a journey from the very brink of
uncontrollable rage, to the depths of heart-wrenching sorrow to starry-eyed and swooning over
Richard, somehow rendering all of those emotions believable.
Another stellar scene is an addition to the play by director Dean Acheson. Ghosts of the betrayed
and slaughtered don masks, take their turns vehemently cursing Richard and then congregate on stage
for chanting and dancing. The eeriness of this scene lingers well into the battle where Richard's
consuming madness is worn like a shirt, for the world to see.
And it just wouldn't be Shakespeare without broadswords and battles, which rage, in this
performance, up and down the aisles between patrons. Watch the fighting moves closely -- word is
they've been practicing since February.
So bring a blanket and some snacks to nibble on and get comfortable -- really
comfortable, the show's a little long. And don't worry, there is much-needed bug
spray on hand, the all-natural kind and the