Richard III – Loyaulté me lie # 04

The central figure in Richard III is King Richard. More so than in Shakespeare’s later works, the focus of the play is on the eponymous protagonist. The many other characters are the cogs in the mechanics of power that Richard III has implemented. Whether it is Lady Ann, Queen Elizabeth, King Edward, Clarence or Buckingham, to name but only the main secondary characters, none of them is described in as many details and as precisely as the main protagonist. It might even be difficult to see what they are driven by, considering how they seem animated, like puppets, by Richard’s ambition.

The most striking example of this is the scene between Lady Ann and Richard, where, against all odds, he manages to seduce her despite having just killed her husband. Far from being an anomaly, the scene exemplifies how both the fascination and the power exerted by Richard go beyond manipulation, sadism and persuasion. There is another dimension to Richard – almost metaphysical – that transforms the people he speaks to into rag dolls.

We have pushed the logic of the piece to its limits. Rather than having a necessarily incomplete cast – there are over forty characters in Richard III – we decided that all characters but Richard were going to be played by the same actor, Élodie Bordas. This allows a radical take on the idea that these characters only exist through Richard. This decision makes sense in the context of the play because its spectral and nightmarish dimension allows such a contraction. The other characters become a recurring obsession for Richard that he cannot escape. This also accentuates the playful aspect of the play: Richard plays with the other characters as much as with the audience; meanwhile, the second performer plays at metamorphosing almost instantaneously from one character to the other, allowing the audience to revel in the pleasure of performance. In addition, seeing one actor impersonate every part of a play echoes the stage devices of the fairground, where tricks and magic effects are multiplied.

Far from denaturing the original play, we think the decision to work with a reduced cast can shed new light on it, a light that is as radical as it is formidably playful, whilst being a real homage to the power of theatre. 


Un clown, alité, face à son propre reflet, face à un double féminin qui se métamorphose, lui renvoyant l’image de...