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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Richard II at CSC

Thanks to an invitation from a reviewer friend of mine, I spent a few hours with Brian Kulick's Richard II at the Classic Stage Company last night. I could prattle on about the performances and the design and the direction... but there are reviewers out there who will do that for me, in full blooms of contradiction and quotables. I won't bother to contribute to that...frankly... what I thought about the production was mixed and there's an end.

I will say that watching a play about a king (who is universally accepted as annointed by God) be deposed because of his own financial mismanagement, wrong-headed warmaking, self-indulgence and arbitrariness, felt, shall we say, relevant.


Ian G. said...

I'll be very interested to see this. My favorite production of any Shakespeare play ever was a "Richard II" at the National in London, with Fiona Shaw as Richard and David Threlfall as Bolingbroke. Deborah Warner became and remains just about my favorite director that I've never worked with. The worst production of any Shakespeare play I've ever seen was also "Richard II" at a very visible theatre which shall remain nameless. Kulick and Cumpsty's "Timon of Athens" remains my favorite Public Theatre production ever, and I dug their "Hamlet" last season quite a bit.

matthew trumbull said...

I took Freeman to the Classic Stage Richard II, and my review is here: http://www.nytheatre.com/nytheatre/rich3831.htm

I too loved their Hamlet with Michael Cumpsty. I thought he was brilliant, and I was glad to have seen somebody be just brilliant in that part, instead of overwhelmed or merely competent. A lot of people, my date that night and one of my best friends who went to see it later, to name a few, hated it. Hated that they had to stand around during the first scene, hated that Cumpsty was old enough to be the average Hamlet actor's dad, hated Queen Claudius (anybody who saw it knows what I am talking about), hated the whiteness of the set and costumes. The reviews themselves were mixed. I think mine was the one of the most positive they got. I guess what I like about Kulick is that his productions are always imaginative, visually arresting, and quite theatrical. Not to say that I've liked every one of them. I haven't. I think he occasionally miscasts the hell out a part, but he does have a core of actors who work in his shows again and again, and they are some of my favorite actors in New York. Michael Stuhlbarg was a Kulick regular before he got famous and went into the TV box.

So I think Richard II at Classic Stage is worth attending. Fucking gorgeous soliloquies.

That's my point, but do I really need one? This is the internet. Not to mention the blogosphere. I