BY MacKenzie Rizzo
Sacred Heart University’s Theatre Arts Program (TAP) will put on the production of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” from Nov. 14 to Nov. 17 in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart. “Richard III” is known for its male-dominant cast, but TAP decided to make it an all-female cast.
Professor and director of the play John Flaherty said, “In Elizabethan times, when Shakespeare was doing his thing, it was illegal for women to perform on the stage, so all the women’s roles were played by mostly young men. So I considered this and thought of all the great women who I’d just had audition and some other all-female Shakespeare troupes, like the Riot Grrrls in Washington, D.C., and Phyllida Lloyd, a British director that produced three great all-female Shakespeare productions in the last decade or so.”
Flaherty said that they have not changed the script of the production, but it is set in the 21st century.
“In this show, we are truly flipping the script right on its head because not only is it an all-female cast in a male-dominated show, but it is also being adapted into the modern-day,” said freshman Ashley Canto, the show’s assistant director.
Canto said the cast will be wearing modern costumes, while using early 80s-themed music, but they will use the Shakespearean language throughout the performance.
“The modern costumes and 80s-themed music will show that Shakespeare is always applicable to the modern-day and connects back to us,” said Canto.
Junior Rebecca Radisic will be portraying the protagonist, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in the show.
“I feel really empowered and grateful to be a part of an all-female cast. It is definitely different from all of the productions I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s what makes this experience so new and exciting,” said Radisic.
Senior Danielle Paradis, assistant stage manager, said the directors did not intend for the show to be an all-female cast, however many strong females auditioned, leading to the directors’ decision.
“While there were also many strong men who came in, our director felt that only having four females casted, as the original script needs, would not be of good use of all of the women we had. So, Professor Flaherty took a spin on the historic all-male cast Shakespeare used to have back in the day and made our show an all-female cast,” said Paradis.
Paradis said that the women casted in the show often are reminded to portray the mannerisms of a man. Specifically, they need to be conscious of their gestures and the way they stand.
“The cast has done a lot of work with body language and the voice. We’ve studied how women and men carry themselves differently and have experimented with vocal range and intonation,” said Radisic.
Junior Justyna Jablonska, the head of props, said that she is “very excited the performance is an all-female cast, for it is a great way to promote female empowerment.”
“I think it’s refreshing to be able to have a new idea done before because way back in history, theatre was done by only men, so why not have it done by all women for once,” said Jablonska.
Tickets for the show are currently on sale at the box office or online at the Edgerton Center’s website. They are $5 for Sacred Heart students, $15 for senior citizens and $22 for general audience members.
“I think that the show is going to be really good as all of these women are very talented and dedicated,” said Paradis.