Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Richard III" - You Can't Miss This Production!

If you read my last post, you know how I feel about Richard III and how he is remembered in history.  With that said, I have to say that if you live in the Phoenix area, you can't miss the opportunity to see the Southwest Shakespeare Company's production of Richard III that is now showing in Mesa AZ, now through May 8th. 

The Artistic Director, Jared Sakren, has the ability to gather great talent from not only the Valley, but outside of Arizona and this time is no different.  All of the actors play their parts well. 

Maren Maclean

Maren Maclean, who has been in several SSC production,s is always great to watch and I hope she is able to reprise her role of Queen Margaret in next seasons opening play "Blood Royal", which is an original adaptation of the three Henry VI plays.  Dawn Tucker is beautiful and convincing as Anne Neville and Justine Hartley is fantastic as Queen Elizabeth.  Hartley seems to be getting better with each of her performances this season and I hope shie will be back next season also. 

Bo Foxworth

The obvious highlight though, is Bo Foxworth's depiction of Richard III.  He is amazing!  You can't help but love him (well maybe "love" is too strong of a word but you do like Richard in the first half) and feel like you are with him in the planning of the treacheries and murders as he plots to win the crown of England. He actually seems to slither across the stage as he explains to you what he is planning, and how he will succeed in his planning. You are then shocked when he does everything he just told you he was going to do! I am always amazing when an actor can say so much through his facial expressions and Foxworth has this down perfectly!
The two young Princes

I do think some of the scenes may be too disturbing for children. I would caution you from taking anyone under the age of 12. Particularly the scene after the young princes have been murdered, and seeing them hoisted into a trunk, and the beheading of Hastings.

My personal opinion of this play is that Shakespeare wrote it, with the part of Richard becoming so much of a caricature that most people would KNOW that Richard wasn’t this bad and that no one would believe this depiction of him. Thus, Shakespeare is cleared in the eyes of us “Yorkist” but it still helped him when it came to keeping his employer (Elizabeth I, and a Lancaster) happy.

Here is a link to SSC website for more information on this play:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Two Reason's to Re-Visit the Question of Richard III

 Richard III

Last year, at about this same time, I posted this "opinion" and I wanted to re-post it for 2 reasons.  One, Southwest Shakespeare Company of Mesa AZ, is going to start their production of Shakespeare's  Richard III this week at the Mesa Arts Center and second, because we celebrate the Bard's birthday this Friday,the 23rd, (more on that later this week!).

See details about the show on the side bar of my blog

Since most people's precetion of Richard III comes from Shakespeare's depiction of him in this play, I wanted to show the other side of the story (or the TRUE side).  Here is the post from last year with a few edits:

In March of 2009 some family members, visited England to do a tour mainly focused on Richard III.  We vivsted York, his headquarters as the Duke of Gloucester and leader of Northern England during his brother, Edward IVs’, reign as king.

Micklegate Bar

In York we went to Micklegate Bar, the eastern gate to the city of York where Richard’s father and brothers’ heads were up on pikes when he first came into the city, triumphant after winning a battle with Henry VI. We went through the tacky (he deserves better)Richard III museum in Monk Bar (the Western gate to York),Barnard Castle, where he lived, Middleham Castle, his favorite castle and where he grew up, Carlisle Castle, where he was Governor for a short time.

Michael at the Richard III museum

Middleham Castle (Richard's favorite)

 My sister took some of our group to Warwick Castle,( I had been there a few times already so didn’t go this time), where he visited often and his brother, Edward, was groomed to become the King (Edward IV). Lastly, we went through the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London where his Nephews were last seen alive and where their bones were found buried under a staircase a few hundred years later.

Barnard Castle in the towne of Barnard Castle

 I feel I have had a long history learning about him and my thoughts about him have gone from one extreme to the other. Let me explain what I mean.

I grew up on Shakespeare. I remember the first time I heard about Richard III was from Shakespeare’s play. So the hunchback, conniving, murdering Richard was the version of the story I thought was the true, because WS wouldn’t lie.

The amazing Warwick Castle

You know, how he killed his brother, George, the Duke of Clarence, then, when the King died, he did away with the nephew’s so he could be King. Then as an adult I began to hear of the other side of the story. First I read “The Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey. That was the first time I had ever considered that he wasn’t guilty of those killings. I was intrigued. Next I read “The Sunne In Splendor” by Sharron Kay Penman. That book convinced me of his innocence in the murders. Another book that I read was “Royal Blood”, by Bertram Fields.

Me at a window that Richard had added to the castle at Barnard Castle

In this book the author takes all the facts as we know them and presents a kind of trial and the result is that Richard III was found not-guilty of the murder of his nephews. (*Another book that I am reading now entitled, Eleanor, The Secret Queen  by John Ashdown-Hill studies Edward's marriage to Eleanor Talbot before he married Elizabeth Woodville, therefore, making his children with Elizabeth illegitimate, and Richard claim to the the crown legitimate).

Three years ago I took a class at Oxford University and in meeting my classmates at a reception, one woman, a distinguished lawyer from Washington DC, found out that I had taken a class previously on the War of the Roses (the 13 year war between the York’s and the Lancaster’s for the crown). She immediately asked me which side of the Richard III question I stood. When I told her I believed him innocent of the murders, she invited me to join the “Ricardian Society of America”, which is a group of history buffs that try to turn the publics’ opinion of Richards’ innocence, through the facts that are available. I had never even heard that there was such a group, but apparently there are branches all over the world! One group even meets monthly in a Medieval Hall in York close by Micklegate Bar.

It is an interesting subject to study if you are a history buff like me. But as much as I hate to cast any dispersions on William Shakespeare, I have to admit that he was first a business man, and wrote the play to please Elizabeth I, whose grandfather was the one that killed Richard at the battle of Bosworth Field. WS knew which side his bread was buttered and so I don’t fault him too much. I leave the question to each of you to see the other side of the story and make your decision after learning the facts.

**ps-Jane Austen was a Yorkist also.  See her entry about Richard III in her book, The History of England by a partial, prejudiced and ingnorant Historian.  Need I have any other proof of his innocence?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Greatest Product for Organization!

I have found the greatest product if you want to organize and effectively rotate your canned goods in your cupboard or storage room. Let me tell you about it!

Most Emergency Preparedness sites encourage you to have a supply of food on hand for emergencies. It can range from a 72 hour emergency food kit to up to 1-2 years of food. In our church, they encourage us to get a 3 month supply of food you eat every day, and then begin to accumulate a longer term food supply that includes wheat, rice, dried beans etc. The problem with this, is finding the space to store it and how to rotate it efficiently. I have been very creative in “hiding” the food almost everywhere in our home since we don’t have a basement or a large storage space for food.

I recently received a handout for a product that helps with the rotation, storage and organization of canned goods. They are called, Can Organizers. They are cardboard boxes that fold into units that you load the can into the top and it rolls around to the bottom, so you are constantly rotating the cans you buy! It is amazing, and INEXPENSIVE!!! I have purchased plastic shelving that does this but they are costly so I was so excited to try these!

They come in 2 sizes, a cupboard size and a pantry size. They eliminate the need to but special shelving units that do the same job! The cupboard size holds; 6 pie fillings, 8 vegetable cans, 9 soup cans, or 18 tuna fish cans. The Pantry size holds; 13 pie filling, 16 vegetable cans, 18 soup cans, or 39 tuna cans. I love them! The web-site to see the product is:
The printed instructions for folding them is not very good, but there is a video on the web-site that shows how to do it and it only takes a couple of minutes once you see how it is done.

Check it out!!!