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UC Davis SOS Troupe Offers Inaugural Free Performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’

“Richard III” written by William Shakespeare, presented by SOS and directed by Bella Merlin

When: Friday, March 15, 7:30PM, and Saturday, March 16, 2PM and 7:30PM

Where: Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, UC Davis

Tickets: Free-of-charge; School reservations, please contact blsherron@ucdavis.edu.

Press Release:

March 7, 2013
University of California, Davis

The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance’s SOS (Shakespeare-On-a-Shoestring) troupe present their inaugural production of Shakespeare’s classic drama, “Richard III” directed by Bella Merlin. A hunch-backed warrior seizes the crown. A vengeful queen curses the throne. Lovers, spies, ghosts and intrigue lead a fast and furious game of power. “Richard III” opens on Friday, March 15 and continues Saturday, March 16 in Wyatt Pavilion Theatre. Admission is free-of-charge. Early arrival is advised given limited seating.

SOS presents “Richard III” as energetic interactive theater where you can cheer for the victors, wail with the losers and laugh whenever you please. In the manner of Shakespeare’s ‘rough magic,’ sets and costumes are at a minimum with maximum drama and audience engagement. The ‘trash orchestra’ created by UC Davis undergraduate Dan Cato Wilson is comprised of found objects including bits of old agricultural equipment, water canisters, buckets and pieces of metal and chain to create soundscapes and music. The battles between Richard and Richmond are all enacted through drumming competitions, and coronations and celebrations are performed to the accompaniment of this percussive ensemble.

The title role of Richard III is played by fourth-year UC Davis dramatic art major Ryan Geraghty. Third year dramatic art and economics double-major Anna Kritikos is Queen Elizabeth and in a gender twist on the original text, Megan Caton, fourth-year dramatic art major, plays Lady Buckingham.

SOS was formed in 2012 when Department of Theatre and Dance productions were threatened by financial cuts. Professor Bella Merlin then originated SOS to create more acting opportunities for dramatic art students.

“SOS has grown out of the newly approved Advanced Acting: Character and Style class that I teach to undergraduates. I direct the troupe roughly nine hours each week throughout the quarter, aided by Assistant Director Kevin Adamski and Musical Director Dan Cato Wilson who direct another six hours per week,” explains Merlin.

“The aesthetic is based on the idea that we don’t need big budgets to tell compelling stories. We use whatever is in stock for props and costumes, and a very simple stage set. It’s a combination of Peter Brook’s ‘immediate theatre’ and ‘rough theatre,’ with a bit of ‘holy theatre’ thrown in for good measure.”

The SOS mission is to create immediate drama that stirs, delights and entertains through the Bard’s classic works.

Be sure to arrive early to claim seating for this PG-13 rated production of “Richard III.” School groups only may contact blsherron@ucdavis.edu for reservations.

Event contact: Janice Bisgaard 530.752.5863 or jbisgaard@ucdavis.edu

For more information: theatredance.ucdavis.edu; facebook.com/UCDtheatredance

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