Richard Duke of Gloucester (Mark Rylance) is determined that he should wear the crown of England. He has already dispatched one king and that king’s son; now all that stands in his way are two credulous brothers and two helpless nephews – the Princes in the Tower. And woe betide those – the women he wrongs, the henchmen he betrays – who dare to raise a voice against him. Performed in repertory with Twelfth Night, and presented in the custom of how Shakespeare’s plays were first staged, with an all-male company playing male and female roles; actors participating in the pre-show ritual of dressing and preparing their make-up on stage, in front of the audience; music played live on traditional instruments; and lighting created almost exclusively by 100 on-stage candles.
Dating from the last decade of the 16th century, The Tragedy of King Richard III is believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, and is one of his most frequently-performed historical dramas. It has been produced on Broadway many times. This production originated in London at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which is located near the site of a playhouse in which many of Shakespeare’s plays were first staged.