10 Reasons I’m Excited about R II

shakespeare-c2036f826586ddb13b0c51d58529f29853581944-s6-c30By Damaris Montalvo

1) I love the Bard. Yep, I am one of those die-hard Shakesy fans, and I can’t wait get me some of that iambic pentameter.

2) I love it when under-represented Shakespeare plays are put on stage. Unless you’re a thespian or a Shakespearian scholar, it’s easy to get caught up in the typical tragedies and comedies. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Puck’s shenanigans and Hamlet’s #firstworldproblems – but one of the biggest theatrical revelations last year for me was watching Cymbeline by an emerging theatre company named Theatrum Elysium who brought this often overlooked “Shakespearean Romance” to life in a way that was vibrant, relevant, and deeply moving. So I’m stoked to see how Boston Court will milk the potential Richard II has to offer, because …

3) Richard II is all about identity – and what could be more relevant than an identity crisis? In an era where social media, the web 2.0 and user-generated content have made us hyperaware of identity and self-representation, of who we are, who we stand for, and what we mean to different groups of people, this play is uniquely relevant.

4) I can also see fascinating political discussions emerging after watching this performance, with likely parallels being drawn to our current political situation. I’d argue that parallels could be drawn to corporate politics and the power-plays involved there as well.

5) And man, can Jessica Kubzansky do Shakespeare! Her Macbeth with The Antaeus Company last year was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen of the famed play, as it solved some of the Scottish play’s most debated “problems.” She even made it worth traveling all the way to Ojai once to watch her take on The Winter’s Tale, where she cleverly broke up Time’s long soliloquy into separate, digestible pieces, and leveraged the star power of wonderful actors such as Robert Mammana and Tim Cummings, who have also made indelible marks on the Boston Court stage.    

6) Speaking of star power, this cast is so stellar that each actor merits their own point. Let’s start with Paige Lindsey White. I have stalked this talented woman all over Los Angeles and have even gotten stranded in Long Beach all in the pursuit of attending one of her shows – just to let her bewitch me with her captivating performances. Paige breathes life into each of her characters with exuberance and honesty. Recently at Boston Court she literally did this with a child-like puppet. Paige turned a creepy, lifeless puppet into a scared, loving little girl in The Children. I’m getting chills just thinking about the enthusiasm she’s going to bring to this production.

7) Then there’s John Sloan, whose work with Antaeus is legendary, and who I recently saw in a show at the Hollywood Fringe that shook me to the core: We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915. Combining his deep knowledge of the classics with tenacity and courageousness for the new and the troubling will make for a very interesting production.

8) Finally, there’s Jim Ortlieb. Have you read his bio? He’s been in everything! So I can’t wait to see him in action. The range he’s bringing is perfect for this production, having done everything from Guys and Dolls to The Grapes of Wrath to Magnolia to Home Alone.

9) Yes, that’s three actors – and that’s the 9th reason I’m excited for R II: there are only three actors in this play! All in all, there are a good 20+ characters in the play, and to distill it to only three actors … well, it’s going to be thrilling to see how that’s done!

10) Lastly, whenever I say “R II” out loud, my nerdy self always wants to complete the thought with “D2,” which make me giggle 🙂 

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