On October 27th, students from Dunellen High School attended Richard III at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. The drama club organized the field trip to help the cast perform the Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night, on the 18th and 19th of November.
Richard III is one of Shakespeare's history plays, depicting Richard III’s rise and short reign as King of England. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s website reads such:
“Since the recent discovery of the remains of the real Richard III, both the real life monarch and Shakespeare’s monstrous version of him have been much talked about — his arch-villain of all villains — the intense, discontented, crippled, larger than life “protagonist,” Richard, Duke of Gloucester dominates this seething history from start to finish. Paul Mullins who played the title role ten years ago, directs.”
Dunellen students saw the show before the end of its short run, from October 5th to November 6th.
When asked why she brought her drama students to see this play, drama teacher and director Ms. Houston replied, “I like to bring the drama students to see live performances each year - so they can see the things we talk about in class and in rehearsal done by professionals. Richard III is a compelling story, and knowing the director and lead actor - I knew it would be a fantastic production of this play. I also thought it would be interesting for students to see a Shakespeare play done in a modern/futuristic world, and not in pumpkin pants and tights.”
For bringing non-drama students, she cites “mostly the same reasons”, adding that “Shakespeare was meant to be seen and heard (not read off the page)”.
The production thrust Shakespeare’s centuries old story into a modern setting, complete with suits, ties, and automatic weapons.
The show had an overwhelmingly positive response from students. Senior Madison Watters says: “It was fantastic. The acting was great and the direction made it really unique and memorable.” Students were awed by the story of the rise and swift fall of King Richard. Taking note of the actor’s command of Shakespeare's language, among other things, DHS cast were given useful information they could use to help better their production of Twelfth Night.
Ms. Houston recommends everyone go to the theatre, describing it as an “escape or a temporary distraction from the craziness of life.”