I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
And if I die no soul will pity me:
And wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself?
The day is ours, the bloody dog is dead.
Richmond talking about Richard
If ever there was a more pathetic character in a Shakespearian play, it is definitely Richard III, Duke of Gloucester. The first would be, in my opinion, Hamlet, who runs around with a chip on his shoulder always whining about not being treated fairly in the family. Both men carry the burden in coming from a well-known family. Richard should know that isn’t easy coming for a lineage of royalty, distress and evil. Not only does he carry the weight of also coming from a prominent family, the hump on his back and his inability to walk straight doesn’t help his disposition, but remains insistent in ruling the kingdom, the same kingdom he will give away for a horse. The Duke does have some serious issues to deal with or not deal with depending on his mood.
Jon Mullich portrays the Duke a razor-sharp talking, well-dressed villain with no soul but filled with killer ambition. At first glance, he looks as if he is going to a dinner party dressed in all back with a white shirt, one black glove worn over his withered hand and his cane, which doubles as a sword, keeping him company. He continuously breaks the fourth wall and communicates with the audience letting them in on what he is thinking. He lays it all out without hesitancy. His favorite topic is how he plans to seduce Lady Anne, the daughter of Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick and wife of Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. She comes in all disgusted at the sight of Richard but still cannot tear herself away from him.
He strokes her hair and cheek and even hands over his sword that so that she can kill him for murdering both her husband and father-in-law. Yet, she refuses. He smirks toward the audience and says, I’ll have her, but I will not keep her long. He even lays a white rose on the bodies as a sign of faith. The only person who is not buying Richard’s acts is Margaret of Anjou (played with courageous glory by Janie Steele). The overthrown queen has clearly lost her mind and therefore, has no problem, or will she receive any consequence, in letting everyone know how she is feeling. She’s not happy. She’s pissed and rightly so. Her world has turned upside down in an instant and here’s her enemy standing in front of her looking as if he is in his rightful place. What nerve!! But, that’s Richard III, the Duke of Gloucester and England’s newest King does. He looks as if he belongs without realizing he will pay a heavy price for his arrogance.
Everyone suffers from Richard’s desire to rule the world. People, even children, die under his brief reign. Women lose their good sense and the men want instant gratification. That is what power does to a person. It makes people change into something that they do not even recognize and eventually, power will turn quickly on those trying to obtain it. This is a show not to be missed. A wonderful story and a great cast make it a perfect reason to come and spend a couple of hours to have a great time.
Richard III plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. until Sunday, August 30th, at The Eclectic Company Theatre, located at 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., between Chandler and Magnolia), in Valley Village. For ticket information, call (818) 508-3003 or reserve online at www.eclecticcomapnythetre.org.