University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Artists Series
To Present Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’

 MAILED:  Feb. 25, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will present The Acting Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, in Zorn Arena.

The Artists Series presentation is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a 50-state, 100-community tour of Shakespeare’s plays by six of the nation’s finest theater companies. The tour is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest.

In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of plotting and betrayal, the villainous Richard, Duke of Gloucester (1452-1485), stops at nothing to win the crown of England. The curtain rises on Richard’s solitary, misshapen figure. He is hunchbacked and limps; a withered arm dangles by his side as he utters a soliloquy that begins, “Now is the winter of our discontent...”

Behind a smiling mask, Richard confides his strategy, making the audience his accomplice. His world is a chessboard: four jumps and the throne will be his. All he must do is remove the obstacles — his brother, King Edward; the Duke of Clarence; and his nephews, the two young princes.

One of history’s most enigmatic characters, Richard III made his way to the English throne by exploiting — or murdering — everyone in his path. Published in 1597, Shakespeare’s masterpiece completed his series of history plays on England’s bloody Wars of the Roses — the historical and spellbinding tale of the triumphs and failures of kings.

“The Acting Company endures as the major touring classical theatre in the United States,” wrote The New York Times. Its production of “Richard III” is directed by Eve Shapiro, a master director at the Juilliard School.

Honored with a 2003 Tony Award nomination for Excellence in Theater, The Acting Company was founded in 1972 by John Houseman and current producing artistic director Margot Harley, with members of the first graduating class of the Juilliard School’s drama division. The ensemble has performed 100 plays for more than two million people in the United States and abroad and has received the Obie, Audelco and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.

Drawing actors from the nation’s finest training programs, the company has given a generation of theater artists the opportunity to master their craft. Alumni of The Acting Company include Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Jesse L. Martin, Frances Conroy and David Ogden Stiers.

Shakespeare in American Communities brings quality, professional theater productions of Shakespeare to Americans throughout the country. This initiative represents the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history.

Admission is $15 for the public, $13 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $5 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 — or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of University Centers and Programs.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
newsbur@uwec.edu

Updated: February 24, 2004