The article examines two neglected texts that were produced in the Romantic period and place themselves at the margins of theatre history: the “ill-fated” stage adaptations of King Richard III by Thomas Bridgman and William Charles Macready. Bridgman’s endeavour was never produced: after being rejected by both Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatre, it was privately printed in 1820; whereas the play traditionally attributed to Macready was brought to the stage just for two nights, in March 1821. Both experiments were born of a growing dissatisfaction with Colley Cibber’s version of the play, which alone could be seen at the theatre at the time. However, their unsuccessful stage history and intrinsic ambiguities bear witness to the sway that Cibber’s Richard still held over actors and audiences alike. Also, they show how in a seemingly bardolatrous era a sort of anti-Shakespearean bias nonetheless existed with regard to "King Richard III", and the age was still unwilling to relinquish its “inherited Cibberism” in spite of its flaunted admiration for Shakespeare. The article shows how Bridgman’s and Macready’s versions did not offer a viable alternative to Cibber, whether in terms of fidelity to the Shakespearian original or of the ever-felt need to make the Bard “our contemporary”. The early nineteenth century was an age of virtuoso performance, and the star actor was the undisputed monarch of the theatre and was acknowledged as a creator in his own right. If the theatrical adaptations produced in the period were little more than abortive attempts, it was the actors themselves who succeeded in adapting the play to the “spirit of the age”, and the fact that they acted in Cibber’s version did not seem to represent an obstacle.
|Titolo:||Looking for Richard III in Romantic Times: Thomas Bridgman’s and William Charles Macready’s Abortive Stage Adaptations|
|Anno del prodotto:||2011|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1017/S0040557411000391|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|