Friday, February 25, 2011

Richard III: Act 1, Scene 1


what a crazy day. i feel like i go through this weird emotional roller coaster almost every day. (it's called grad school.) i feel like i'm awesome, then i feel like i'm an idiot, then i feel like i know what i'm doing, then i feel like i have no talent at all, then i feel like everything is perfect, then i feel like everyone thinks i'm a joke. it is probably brought on by 2 things: 1. being out of my comfort zone (a good thing) and being so tired all the time. that daily journey is draining. i do think it is good for me in a way because i am questioning my work, my process, my aesthetic, but it is pretty hard on the self esteem. i just need to remember when i walk out of here, i will be all the stronger for it. as an artist. as a person. AND i need to have more nights like tonight when i actually get to relax and go have fun with the cast of Vinegar Tom! work hard, play hard, right?

on to Shakespeare. this play already has me wrapped around it's finger. it starts with a bang. so much is happening already! and i feel like i understand SO much more because i've read the 3 Henry 6 plays. it's incredible. night and day from the last time i read it. moral of the story: read the Henry 6 plays. they're awesome and they will give you a whole new appreciation for this play. fact. ok here we go:

act 1, scene 1
   (Richard, near the Tower of London.)
Richard: the war is over. we were victorious, and we've traded our frowns for smiles. instead of mounting his armored horse, Edward traipses into a lady's bedroom. but i am not made for love, i am made for war. (see quote below.) i am a villain, and proud of it. i have laid a plot to pit my brothers, Edward and Clarence, against each other. there was a prophecy that 'G of Edward's heirs' will murder Edward, and Clarence is locked up for it. He thinks it's G, as in George, but really it's G as in Gloucester.
   (Clarence enters, led by Brackenbury [Lieutenant of the Tower])
Richard: what's going on?
Edward: Edward has sent me to the Tower.
Richard: why?
Clarence: because my name is George. he's obsessed with prophecies and dreams. he says that a wizard told him that he will lose everything because of G. my name is George, so that's me.
Richard: it's Lady Grey that's done it. isn't she the reason Hastings was locked up? we are not safe around her and her brother Woodville.
Clarence: and she has her spies after the king and his mistress, Jane Shore.
Richard: she will make us her servants before too long.
Brackenbury: you're not supposed to be talking like this. we've got to go.
Richard: i will talk to the king. you won't be in the Tower for long. 'i will deliver you, or else lie for you.'
   (Clarence and Brackenbury leave.)
Richard: 'go tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return.' i love you so much, Clarence, that i will send you to heaven.
   (Hastings enters.)
Richard: how did you handle prison?
Hastings: i'll live. and will enjoy giving 'thanks' to those who imprisoned me.
Richard: i see. and so will Clarence.
Hastings: King Edward is sick, and his doctors are not hopeful.
Richard: let's go see him. go ahead, i will follow. (Hastings exits.) he must die, but he can't until i get him to kill Clarence. i will tell Edward more lies about Clarence, and have him killed within a day. then Edward can die and i will marry Warwick's youngest daughter, Anne. i killed her husband and father, but i will have her. marrying will be most advantageous to me. Clarence will be first, then Edward, and then Anne.

i love how Shakespeare plays with words. you can get something new from this every time. for instance, Richard says to Clarence:
'well, your imprisonment shall not be long;
i will deliver you, or else lie for you.'
what does he mean by this? does he mean he will fib for him? or that he will take his place for him? or both? it's unclear. and that's exciting.

quote of the day:
'but i, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
nor made to court an amorous looking glass;
i, that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty
to strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
i, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
cheated of feature by this dissembling Nature,
deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
into this breathing world scarce half made up,
and that so lamely and unfashionable
that dogs bark at me as i halt by them--
why, i, in this weak piping time of peace,
have no delight to pass away the time.'
     -Richard; act 1, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 1, scene 2

-rebecca may


  1. One of my favorite plays! At last we meet again! The opening monologue is fabulous. Richard tells us exactly what he is and what he is going to do! "Now is the Winter of our Discontent made glorious summer by THIS son of York." The war is over and Richard is the sun/son who will change it all. "But I, that am not made for sportive tricks" talks about his malformity. He tells us that he has gone to the King pretending to have had a vision. Because Richard was misshapen having been "untimley ripped from mother's womb" (a bungled c-section)
    they believed he had magical powers, so it was quite believable that everyone believed him.
    Richard tells the king that he has dreamed that "G" is after him. The king immediately supposes that it is George, the Duke of Clarence and has him thrown in prison. Itony is that he never suspects that it is indeed a G that is after him--Richard, Duke of Gloucester. I love it! Then he turns around and says to Clarence, "Poor you. I will deliver you (he does indeed get him out of prison) or lie for you (said lie is ABOUT him). Clarence leaves the Tower of London dead as a doornail. ANd what a number he does on Lady Anne--delicious.

  2. "...that dogs bark at me as i halt by them..." - What is that about? My dog barks at people who limp. Otherwise, he's not the kind of dog who barks at everyone who passes.

  3. dani, that's interesting. speaking of interpretive reading. to me he is saying this son of York about Edward and he's being sarcastic. and also playing with words because Edward used the sun as his emblem.
    also, i thought it's said that a 'wizard' tells Edward about G. like Edward's been getting into fortune telling and stuff. what Richard tells Edward is that it's G as in George, but it's really G as in Gloucester? so cool how it can be interpreted in so many different ways!