Although it was too beautiful a day to spend indoors, that’s what I did. I met other members of the Harvard Club of Charlottesville, first for lunch at one of Staunton’s nicer restaurants, L’Italia, and then to see a performance of Richard III at the American Shakespeare Center. Several of the other members live in Staunton so it was very nice to meet them–I’m sure we’ll get together again.
ASC has done Richard III before, but this time the play was presented by the touring company. They did a fine job, I thought, and Richard was suitably nutty (that’s him in the little picture above) while the Earl of Richmond/King Henry VII was noble and heroic. It’s not my favorite of the Histories, but all of the plays are fun to see performed when done well, as the ASC invariably does. Because of the smallish company, the doubling of parts (tripling, quadrupling, quintupling) was noticeable and occasionally disturbing. The same actor (Greg Phelps, whom I remember from when the touring company visited “home base” last year), was King Edward IV, Brakenbury, the Mayor of London, the Duke of York and also Earl of Richmond, not to mention various messengers and other extras. They do their best to signal the different roles with costumes and behavior, and Phelps was quite good in all his parts, but it’s still a little distracting. For a Sunday afternoon the theater was reasonably full, and the ovation said the audience was pleased.
I’ve recently done an article on the impact that the ASC has had on Staunton; it’s due out soon in the Southern Arts Journal.