What does it look like when a man with no scruples stops at nothing to gain power? If you’re unsure, Richard of Gloucester will gladly demonstrate. What he lacks in looks he makes up for in bottomless ambition, ruthless cunning and rapacious zeal: the crown, at all costs. As he climbs ever higher, Richard bends the world to his will until even his mother can’t bear to own him.

Shakespeare’s mesmerizing chronicle of the megalomaniac’s rampage to the throne — one of his greatest variations on history — remains an irresistible study of villainy and of our alarming addiction to its exploits. Director David Muse returns to STC after his hit production of King Charles III, rendered “more incisively than…in its Broadway incarnation” (The Washington Post).

From the Director
David Muse

Richard the Third is a great play for now. It’s about a heartless man, a con artist, a man obsessed with winning and power, a misogynist, a spinner of news and misinformation, a man who thrives by beating others, a man who uses and discards people.

It’s about how a country responds to a leader like this. We watch people negotiate with their own mortality, align themselves with power and resist secretly if at all.

It’s about the inescapable magnetism of a certain brand of vileness, our inability to resist being drawn in, the danger of manipulation on a massive scale.

The play is a challenge for a director. It takes for granted familiarity with British history, some of the most interesting developments are carried by a handful of lines that are easy to miss, and the whole thing can be a slog if it isn’t handled well. I’m after a production that combats those challenges head-on: something that is clear, surprising, often genuinely funny, and shocking in its parallels to the contemporary moment.

All titles, artists and dates subject to change.

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March 23

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