Radio Dramas return to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts with Shakespeare's "Richard II"


In this election year filled with debates and speeches - some more eloquent than others - the electorate has only to tune in to various media to hear where the candidates stand on the many issues of the day. In English history, the Divine Right of Kings took away the guesswork - or did it?

The popular "Radio Dramas" series returns to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts with murder, politics, banishment and conspiracy in a brand new adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Richard II," Friday, March 14 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 15 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Quick Center's executive director, Thomas V. Zingarelli, adapted the play based on the style of radio shows such as "Radio Guild" (1929-1940), "Great Plays" (1938-1942) and the "Columbia Workshop" (1936-1947).

In choosing this early Shakespearean play (1595), Zingarelli stresses that  "Richard II" "contains some of Shakespeare's most beautiful language and lush speeches, making it a boon to the radio experience." And he adds, "One of the more adventurous theatrical devices Shakespeare employs is the antithetical nature of Richard's simultaneous decline in stature and his enhanced eloquence." The playwright portrays Richard as an inept, self-indulgent king ripe for usurpation and at the same time as a master of metaphor, albeit with a self-absorbed focus.

In his New York Times best-seller "Shakespeare:  The Invention of the Human," the award-winning Yale professor Harold Bloom bows to Shakespeare's courage as a writer by acknowledging the robust approach to his work: "Always experimenting, Shakespeare composed 'Richard II' as an extended metaphysical lyric, which ought to be impossible for a history play, but for Shakespeare everything is possible."

While the only actions of the play are, Bloom declares, "abdication and murder ... Richard is victimized as much by his own psyche and its extraordinary language as he is by Bolingbroke ... Richard opens only to Richard, and to other murdered kings before him. And yet he opens also to a greater poetry, with a vernacular intensity that astonishes:"

For God's sake let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.

In addition to adapting the play, Zingarelli directs and stars in this production. He has assembled an accomplished cast that includes Doug Taylor of Fairfield, Kathryn Marchand of Stratford, Joe Mango of Beacon Falls and John Watson of New Haven, among others. Composer Daniel Smith of New Haven provides evocative original music for the production.

Tickets are $20 and are available online at www.quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Please visit the website for further information at www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 25, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 186