Richard III

Last Saturday was a pretty spectacular day. We meandered over to Jimmy T’s, Capitol Hill’s finest greasy spoon breakfast diner for omelettes and fried, jalapeno cheddar grits. Then we began our walk over to the National Gallery of Art’s West Building (whose collection is, basically, art before WWII).

Our path took us by the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is, of course, one of my favorite underappreciated DC destinations. A poster was up on their administrative offices for their upcoming production of Richard III.

STC 22314, title pageAs a teenager, I had a minor obsession with this play. I memorized the opening soliloquy (you know: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent…) and stayed up until 3:30 in the morning to watch our local PBS station’s 1:00 am broadcast of the movie version starring Laurence Olivier as the titular hunchback (in Tampa Bay, if you enjoy good live theater, well your main option is go somewhere else; probably to another state).

But, you know, I’ve never seen it performed live.

So, we went into the theater and, after wrangling over our respective schedules, purchased two tickets for the second night of the play.

She noticed that there was a sign in front of the theater doors that said the theater was in use, but a fellow sitting in the lobby said that we could go upstairs onto the balcony if we wanted to watch the rehearsal.

The actors and director were still blocking scenes and we walked in on the one where Richard is standing over the body of Warwick and plotting to marry Anne. The fellow who told us we could watch came in and revealed himself to almost certainly be one of the actors (though I didn’t get see what his role is).

I could have stayed there all day, but she had never seen nor read the play nor was her knowledge of Western history and culture deep enough to know the story of an admittedly minor player in English history (though a looming figure in English cultural consciousness) and did not want to ruin the surprise of not knowing how things would end when we saw the full play.

So. Great freaking day, right?

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