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Hats and Richard-by-Carding again

Still trying to find some headwear for the wedding, with help from the Best Lady.  I have a hat that will do nicely, but it isn't extraordinary, so I'm keeping an eye out for something too special to resist. Found two huge fascinators, one like a satellite dish, the other like a windmill... and they are so vast, so totally diva, I almost can't resist having one. One actually rocked on my head as I moved, though I am assured the motion wasn't visible. There are environmental factors to take into account, like getting through doors or not being swept out into the Bristol Channel by an impudent wind. Still, I am tempted,as much by the look I can imagine on my groom's face, as my secret hopes that we might get messages from Alpha Centauri if we point and aim me in the right direction.

I am still caught up in Emily Carding's Richard III, and wonder why it was so much more vital, so much more alive than the Beeb's version in the Hollow Crown series*.  Of course it has the novelty value, and it requires a different kind of concentration, being much shorter, in the round, very prop-light and almost without set. It all creates intimacy, but then so does a close-up camera shot. Why then, does Carding's Assange-alike Richard resonate so much more than that of the mighty Cumberpatch?

I suppose its the interactive quality of the piece - the audience 'play' members of the cast, not by reading aloud but by... well, responding really.  No pressure but very engaging. I couldn't help thinking that for all the production's ingenuity, Carding's characterisation didn't need it per se, that her Richard could work perfectly well in an 'ordinary' production of the play. But this is as much fun as any of them, so why bother?

 The production allows the audience a chance to be involved; people could talk, and very occasionally did, though we were largely mute and immobile by our own choice. Some entered the actors space, invited and adapted to by this remarkably deft Richard. The part I got was that of Elizabeth of York,a character I have always written off as a pretty woman with a lucky break.  But this  gave me a chance to think her through. Though I stayed silent and seated because I couldn't dismiss the convention  of not getting in the actor's way, I could feel the dismay - more than dismay-  of the queen as her allies fell around her like skittles, with far worse to follow. Her character began to form in my mind, not from her own words but from Richard speaking about her and to her. Fascinating from start to finish, I was engrossed watching Richard spin his web around the court, and Emily spin hers around the audience.

I think this may be the most successful Shakespeare adaptation I have seen in years.

*Enjoyed it, but it wasn't the best...




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