Richard the Kid
Based on William Shakespeare
It was a difficult birth. Richard III’s arrival in the world is overshadowed by his physical deformities and mysterious omens. Would it have been better if this child had never been born? Richard’s mother, the Duchess of York, senses something evil: from the very start, this son feels dark and alien to her. She cannot bring herself to love him, and he meets with rejection everywhere else as well. Later, in his youth, he proves to be extremely cold-blooded, brutal, and successful in the Wars of the Roses over the English throne. Is lust for power, ruthlessness, and destructive fury the result of a broken childhood? Can the causes be found in social and familial contexts, or is there just no complete explanation for the existence of egomaniac and malicious power-mongers? Richard III is one of the greatest antiheroes of theatre: shameless, greedy, violent, the very incarnation of evil. And he is also a main attraction in the Shakespearean cosmos: shrewd, funny, deceitful, seductive. He knows how easy it is to manipulate people, he is a great liar, a genius at instrumentalising others and indulging in self-dramatisation. Shakespeare delivered a fantastic coup, creating a role that has always been an extraordinary challenge for actors. He continues to fascinate us, because he does not explain, he just raises questions: What makes this sleazebag so attractive? Is he a pathological case apart, an aggrieved outlaw, or maybe the most logical manifestation of a system? How do you explain why so many people approve of him and his politics?
Based on Shakespeare’s history plays “Henry IV and “Richard III”, Karin Henkel will stage the material about the notorious king in two parts. In the first part she will focus on Richard’s family history. For years the House of York has been engaged in bitter and bloody battles with the House of Lancaster about the rule over England. After “Richard the Kid”, the second part “Richard the King” will follow in the 2021-22 season as a co-production with the Salzburger Festspiele.