Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Plenty of Madmen, no Lovers

Relent! ’tis cowardly and womanish.”

Communication senior Sarah Hague, who is holding a dagger over a trembling Duke of Clarence, is a surprisingly “womanish” assassin dressed in leather boots, a short skirt and a spiked collar around her neck.

In Lovers and Madmen’s production of “Richard III,” switched genders and gothic costumes alter the Shakespearean play to highlight themes of domination and evil.

“We started off with the idea of (the costuming) being gothic underground,” said Communication sophomore Sarah Pickering, the costume designer. “We’re using dark colors (and) asymmetrical, tattered clothes to give a feeling of darkness.”

The use of untraditional costuming divides the cast of 20 into loose factions with the followers of Richard III wearing “gothic” clothing and the aristocracy dressed as business executives. The costumes serve as a guide to the audience in a play which is dense with historical allusions.

Director Kyle O. Jones, a Communication senior, cast female actors for many of the male roles, including the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Buckingham. “I saw issues in the play (regarding) Richard’s domination of the females and I wanted to extend that into other characters,” Jones said. “It was a way to change relationships in the play and find new ways to present them.”

In Shakespeare’s bloody history play, the real-life 15th century Richard murders and manipulates his way to the throne. Queen Margaret, played by Communication senior Courtney Abbott, loses her title as queen in the beginning of the play, and curses the court. Because of the length and cast of 65 characters in the original text, Margaret’s lengthy monologues are often cut altogether in other productions.

However, Jones’ adaptation of the play presents an exiled and mad Margaret who appears sporadically, lending an air of the supernatural to the play and wreaking psychological havoc on a guilty Richard. In a dream scene towards the play’s end, she orchestrates six bloodied corpses to surround him in his sleep.

“The whole story seems out of control with the constant betrayal and murder,” said Communication senior Erin Michael, who plays Prince Edward. “People betrayed their families and had people murdered at a whim.”

Behind all of the betrayal is the malformed Richard. Communication sophomore Jon Kodera plays Richard III, and in one of the last scenes illustrates Richard’s delusion with a tortured monologue in which he adopts two personalities.

“I want the audience … to be drawn in like anyone is drawn in by a psychopath,” Kodera said.

Medill freshman Crystal Nicholson is a writer for PLAY. She can be reached at [email protected].

‘Richard III’

What: Lovers and Madmen’s spring show

Where: Shanley Pavilion

When: Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

How much: $5

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Plenty of Madmen, no Lovers