Blondell Stages ‘Richard III’ in Black Box

John Blondell, Westmont professor of theater arts, directs a Lit Moon Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” presenting the king’s Machiavellian rise to power and short reign, on March 9-11 at 7:30 p.m. in Westmont’s Porter Hall Black-Box Theatre. Tickets, which cost $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors, may be purchased at westmont.edu/boxoffice. The theater seats an intimate audience of 50, so advance purchase is requested.

In some ways, Lit Moon is continuing the work it started in 2012 when it played “Henry VI, Part 3” in Santa Barbara. That production featured an ensemble of eight, with Lit Moon actors Victoria Finlayson and Marie Ponce-DeLeon ’10 as King Henry VI, and Richard of Gloucester, respectively.

“This production continues in that direction and spirit,” Blondell says, “and uses four women, including Marie as the aforementioned Richard and ultimately Richard III, and a musician in the performance.

“Though there are many reasons to play this material with women. The principal one is that I believe that something rich, unexpected and unnerving results from the fusion of cast and material, which seems completely appropriate for the play and this historical moment.”

The performance is inspired by a video installation, “The Refusal of Time,” created by South African artist William Kentridge, presently exhibited at SF MOMA. “I wondered what it would be like to create an art installation of the play,” Blondell says, “to invent something that is not necessarily theatre, but rather an immersive happening that blends actors, text, objects, music, space, scenography and behaviors. I have termed the performance a ‘Dream Collage for Voices, Bodies, Music, Space, Light and Time,’ and have privately called it ‘Five One Acts about Richard III.’” Essentially, the performance is Richard III as Dream Play, and has the associative poetry of dreams, not the seeming intelligibility of waking life.

The performance also includes Nina Sallinen and Paige Tautz ’14; music by Jim Connolly; lighting by Jonathan Hicks ’04; and staging managed by Danielle Draper ’16.