King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's most popular and frequently-performed plays. Janis Lull's introduction to this new edition, which is based on the First Folio, emphasises the play's tragic themes--individual identity, determinism and choice--and stresses the importance of women's roles. A thorough performance history of stage and film versions shows how the text has been cut, rewritten and re-shaped by directors and actors to enhance the role of Richard at the expense of other parts, especially those of the women.
The text of the quarto is accompanied by a collation of variant readings and substantial textual notes. An important element of this edition is the history of what happened to the text on tour. Using examples of touring practice of the past 400 years, the introduction shows how the actors' involvement helped to produce the text we have.
Kenneth Branagh heads an outstanding cast in playing one of Shakespeare's strongest characters. England is enjoying a period of peace under King Edward IV, but his younger brother Richard resents Edward's power and begins to aspire to the throne.
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