@FringeNYC Preview – Richard 3, with Roots in Wilton

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of … Wilton?

I’ve always loved funky modern adaptations of Shakespeare and when I used to regularly attend the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I would seek out such plays. The listing of Richard 3 on the FringeNYC website describes the Less Than Rent production of Richard 3 like this:

Betrayal! Bloodlust! Punk Rock! Shakespeare's classic tragedy re-imagined in a nuclear wasteland. Nineteen-year-old Richard Gloucester is trying to get ahead in post-WWIII England, and he wants the crown...really effing bad. It'sTheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt!

Sounds right up my alley. To add to my anticipation, I fondly, yet vaguely, remember a production of Richard the Third that some of my roommates back in 1983 were part of. I have other favorable, but much less clear recollections of a great movie version.

With this, I signed up for the event on Facebook. This morning I received an email from Nicole Ventura who plays Tyrrel in the play to get tickets because they are going fast. I checked out Nicole’s Facebook page, and she and I have one friend in common: James Presson.

Now, I must admit, I have a lot of friends on Facebook, and I can’t always place how I know someone on Facebook. James is listed as having graduated from Wilton High School in 2008. Then it struck me. James Presson, Voices in Conflict.

This was the play that students in a Drama class at Wilton High School created out of “letters and essays written by Iraqi civilians and American soldiers serving in Iraq”. Back in 2007, I wrote about it in Helping students find their voices, or not:

So, what are the issues that our schools are trying to address today? First, there is the case of “Voice in Conflict”, a play put together by a theatre class at Wilton High School. This was the play that was judged to be too inflammatory by the school’s superintendent to be put on in the $10 million auditorium, so instead the students were invited to perform the play in venues around the country.

The major focus of that article was about whether or not our educational system is helping students find their voices. Besides the Wilton case, I also spoke about Avery Doninger. Avery and James appear to have found their voices by speaking out against an educational system that seemed intent on stifling their voices.

Now, James is a theatre major at Fordham and is directing Richard 3. His experiences with Wilton High School and Voices in Conflict provide an interesting and important backdrop to the production. Having this background, Richard 3 moves from the “sounds like something I would enjoy watching” category to the “absolute must” category. However, opening night, really afternoon, tickets are going fast. However, there are four additional performances as part of FringeNYC. Get your tickets now.