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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Black Heart

Can a person's heart be truly evil? This is the question posed and the journey Shakespeare takes us on in Richard III. I was somewhat familiar with the play but had never seen it live. It is alive and well in popular culture though, Kevin Spacey, who played the iconic character at the Old Vic in London, has said he modeled his character in House of Cards after Richard. From time to time I hear someone reference "the winter of our discontent", but other than that I didn't know Richard at all.

An insight into my personality.... I automatically think it's his childhood and deformity that hardened his heart and steeled his nerves. He could still be saved if only someone could reach him. But The Bard says different and when the ghosts of his victims visit him, he is not swayed by their presence or re-awakened a la Scrooge. He has a singular vision and is willing to cut down anyone who stands in his way.

Are these bad qualities though? Are they evil? There are positions and decisions that need to be made in this world that require a certain level of detachment, a certain level of decision making ability absent pity or shame. If history is on your side when you have to make these decisions you are lifted up as a hero. If history favors someone else you are labeled a tyrant. Perhaps, as Jack Nicholson said so famously,  sometimes "we can't handle the truth". Interesting questions that I'm sure we could spend hours debating over a bottle of wine. But for now, on with the show!

Richmond is extremely lucky. Agecroft Hall, a Tudor Mansion dismantled in England in the 20's and re-assembled here later, serves as a perfect back drop for an evening of theatre. The grounds are also beautiful and I was able to wander for a bit before the show and take pictures. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you will go and see Richard's story if you can before the company's run ends. Supporting the arts here in Richmond is a huge part of continuing to build on the amazing development and activities in the city.

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