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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

June, 2005

 

RICHARD III
by Jeffrey R Smith

Anyone, who has maintained a steady critical gaze on Shakespeare at Stinson since its inception, will agree that StinsonŐs initial opus for this season is undoubtedly its most ambitious and strenuous undertaking. Director Kenneth Kelleher has more than demonstrated his artistic courage, his resourcefulness and his mastery of Shakespeare in this superlative production of RICHARD III.
Kalli Jonsson as Richard III, is clearly the strongest lead any director could hope for. JonssonŐs Richard is so viciously evil he could mentor Darth Vader (with all due respect to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine). At the final curtain some members of the audience seem unwilling to forgive MR Jonsson for the dastardly deeds he performed as the nefarious Richard. Kalli had better beware, lest he be type cast hereafter for his very compelling portrayal of the apotheosis evil.
However, MR Jonsson cannot assume all the credit for his convincing villainy on stage. Make-up and costume design by Jocelyn Leiser and Kathy Lee serve to a create a Richard so sordid and so repulsive that not only would you change seats if he sat next to you on BART, you might just leap off the train--between stations no less.
Further suspension of disbelief is accomplished by set designer: Richard Ortenblad, and sound designer: Steven Klems. Their collaboration achieves more than just a virtual setting; it weaves a nightmarish dreamscape that seems to speak directly to the subconscious. Body parts litter the stage, presaging the carnage unleashed by Richard; while startling sounds and eerie musical distortions nearly jolt the audience into levitations above their seats. Lighting designer, Jon Tracy, adds a measure of subliminal suggestions to add to the madness.
With the coming of summer, Shakespeare seems to bloom like feral fennel all over the bay area landscape: walk within earshot of a park or an outdoor theater and you are likely to hear the poetic rendering of Elizabethan English. Do not mistakenly apply the convenience factor when deciding where to partake of your summer Shakespeare. All Shakespeare is not created equal. Admittedly Stinson Beach does involve a Dramamine drive along the scenic but curvaceous coastal highway one. But hey, gas prices continue to drop and you will not find a better production of Richard the Third anywhere west of Stratford Upon Avon. The dedication of these Stinson artists is conspicuous in the quality of their work.
For a scary vision of what a nation with nothing but red states could be like, call the Stinson box office at 415-868-1115.

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