Richard III

Performance

The earliest certain performance occurred on 16 or 17 November 1633, when Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria watched it on the Queen's birthday.[13]:p.81–82 The Diary of Philip Henslowe records a popular play he calls Buckingham, performed in December 1593 and January 1594, which might have been Shakespeare's play.

Colley Cibber produced the most successful of the Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare with his version of Richard III, at Drury Lane starting in 1700. Cibber himself played the role till 1739, and his version was on stage for the next century and a half. It contained the line "Off with his head; so much for Buckingham" – possibly the most famous Shakespearean line that Shakespeare did not write. The original Shakespearean version returned in a production at Sadler's Wells Theatre in 1845.[14]:p.102 & 414

Most film versions of Richard III feature actors who had previously played Richard on stage. The two best-known film versions are those with Laurence Olivier and Ian McKellen. McKellen's film is directly based on an earlier stage production set in a Nazified England of the 1930s, which toured Europe for six years to sell-out crowds prior to being shortly thereafter adapted to film. McKellen wrote the screenplay for his film version, although he did not direct it. Olivier played Richard on stage for quite a few years in the 1940s before making a film of it in 1955. His film performance, if not the production as a whole, is heavily based on his earlier stage rendition. The Al Pacino film Looking for Richard is a documentary of rehearsals of specific scenes from the play, and a meditation on the play's significance. Pacino had played the role on stage 15 years earlier. In 2011, well-known film actor Kevin Spacey starred in an Old Vic production which subsequently toured the United States, directed by well-known stage and film director Sam Mendes. No plans for a film version have been announced. Spacey had played the role of Richard's henchman, the Duke of Buckingham, in the Pacino film.

Notable stage performers of Richard III

  • F. Murray Abraham
  • John Barrymore
  • Simon Russell Beale
  • Junius Brutus Booth
  • John Wilkes Booth
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Richard Burbage
  • Ramaz Chkhikvadze
  • Ron Cook
  • Peter Dinklage
  • Martin Freeman
  • David Garrick
  • Alec Guinness
  • Alan Howard
  • Ciarán Hinds
  • Ian Holm
  • Edmund Kean
  • Anton Lesser
  • Ian McKellen
  • Seana McKenna
  • Michael Moriarty
  • Laurence Olivier
  • Al Pacino
  • Ian Richardson
  • Mark Rylance
  • Antony Sher [k]
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Barry Sullivan
  • Donald Wolfit
  • Ron Moody [l]

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