Richard III

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


Only the very greatest actors, perhaps, could make Richard’s soliloquies at the play’s beginning and end truly believable; and convey without benefit of action, the demonic force within him. Mr. Bedford doesn’t manage it, but he manages everything else and the play, in any case, is almost entirely, Richard in motion: cajoling, plotting, threatening, killing. Mr. Bedford is all broken energy, and everything he does has the excess of disease. When he woos the wife of a man he has killed, he is a blind torrent of language. When he plots to prevent the crowning of his brother’s son and to crown himself instead, he has an eerie stillness. He sits, eyes blinking, tongue-tip flickering, a foolish quiet about him, while his man Buckingham gives orders. He is precisely what one of his victims calls him: the bottled spider… The production’s true moment of greatness, however, comes in the encounter between Richard and Margaret… Here Miss Tyzack has lost all femininity, all humanity. She stands tall and gaunt. Her pale face with a quivering halo of colorless hair has nothing in it but the compulsion to denounces Richard and to see him perish… Eyes blazing and dead, dressed in a stiff cuirass, she is like a corpse sitting up out of her coffin. Her litany of denunciation, heedless of peril, touches Richard for the first and only time. She is in full career… when he suddenly screams “Margaret!” with the pain of a demon being exorcised … Using a bare set that is a literal prison in which the characters move, Mr. Phillips gives a fast, harsh pacing … Everything is in somber, dark tones until the moment of Richard’s coronation. Suddenly there is a blaze of red capes and light. The subterranean king crumples inside his gorgeous apparel: his triumph is the beginning of his doom. (Richard Eder, New York Times, 10 June 1977)


Believable Motivation Poisonous Toad Super Bowl Dark Tone Full Career 
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Copyright information

© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

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