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New flavor added to Shakespearean classic

Richard III
Performance Network
April 24 - June 1, 2014

Posted: April 16, 2014 at 8:53 a.m.

ANN ARBOR - From April 24 through June 1, William Shakespeare's famous history "Richard III" gets an innovative treatment in this boldly re-imagined tale of power, treachery, seduction and fate. Directed by Julia Glander, this revolutionary take on the age-old classic explores the themes and fate of gender, power and government set in the distant yet ominous future. This is an exciting first-time collaboration between student actors and faculty of Eastern Michigan University Theatre and the artists of Performance Network Theatre.

In this gender-fluid rendition of "Richard III," associate artistic director Carla Milarch stars as Richard III, the ruthless and conniving Plantagenet, whose ascent to power is littered with corpses. By casting this show in a gender blind style, Performance Network's production of "Richard III" seeks to examine the relationship between gender, identity and power. Milarch's rendition of Richard III is a transgender man who was born in a female body. Other examples of gender-fluid casting include John Seibert as Queen Margaret and Alysia Kolascz as Hastings. Other characters were cast that matched the gender of the actors, including Terry Heck as the Duchess of York, and Logan Ricket as Catesby.

"The quest for power (the crown) really felt like a means of survival - a perfect setting, actually, for a villain to take advantage of a disheartened people. Make our villain a female who openly identifies as a male, and it opens up possibilities for a time period in which gender fluidity comes to the forefront. I am particularly excited to have Carla Milarch bring a new, outrageous, audacious, and humorous re-imagining to Shakespeare's 'Richard III,'" said Glander.

Performance Network's production of "Richard III" may intrigue students, intellectuals, theater lovers and countless others with this dystopian interpretation of a Shakespearean classic. Patrons will be immersed into the future by set, props, and projections design by Monika Essen, lighting design by Daniel C. Walker, costume design by Katherine Nelson, and sound design by Will Myers.

"Richard III" runs Thursday through Sunday, April 24 - June 1 at Performance Network Theatre. Previews begin Thursday, April 24; opening night is Friday, May 2.

Regular tickets are $27 - $46 with discounts for students, seniors, children under the age of 16, and military. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681, or at the theater at 120 East Huron in Downtown Ann Arbor.

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