Literature in motion; an art form difficult to resist. I could never imagine being on stage, but I love sitting in the audience, suspending my disbelief, living and breathing the action unfolding before my eyes.
I prefer sitting in the first row. Small venues are my favourite. Done well, it is pure magic. It transforms.
I go regularly, often twice or thrice to see the same performance – to relive the wonder. I study the texts at home. Not many enjoy reading plays; I delight in them.
A while back, I wrote one. It even won an award. The prize money bought me a gorgeous, wine-red quilt. Last night, I was tempted to take it with me to Maynardville to the opening of Richard III, with Alan Committie in the main role. But the action-packed play and a Shiraz in the interval kept me all cosy and warm.
‘Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile…’
And he does. Smile, murder, seduce. Vanquish. Fall. The vicious circles of power.
The open-air theatre is the perfect setting for the play, the southeaster a willing contributor with uncanny timing. Tall trees haunt the stage. The simple props and the understated elegance of the costume design enhance the superb performances of the entire cast.
Cassandra Mapanda as Queen Elizabeth stood out for me. A true royal presence on stage. But nobody and nothing disappointed.
Shakespeare has never been easy for me. And Richard III was new despite my education and love for the theatre. Yet I never felt lost. As one head after another is impaled and hearts are conquered and torn apart, we are transported into the distant past that has a lot to teach us about our own times, our greed and disenchantment.
I will see it again before the run is over.
Richard III is on until 9 March; Wednesday to Saturday, at 8.15pm. Don’t miss it!