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April 7: Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Stages Contemporary Version of Shakespeare's "Richard III," April 15-24


Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Stages Contemporary
Version of Shakespeare's "Richard III," April 15-24

Richard IIIPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama will present an adaptation of Shakespeare's politically charged "Richard III," under the direction of Assistant Professor of Acting Matthew Gray, April 15-24 in the Philip Chosky Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

"In 'Richard III' Shakespeare holds a mirror up to avarice, despotism and the evils of rampant ambition," said Peter Cooke, head of the School of Drama. "In a country in which the peaceful transfer of power is now accepted practice - Richard III reminds us of earlier accepted practices that over time has evolved into Britain's Royal house."

"Richard III," Shakespeare's Machiavellian tour-de-force, tells the story of a nobleman's bloody and narcissistic ascent to power and his infectious impact on the society that nurtured and destroyed him. Exploring the worlds of terror, mistrust, corruption and delusion, it effectively echoes some current political shenanigans. In this adaptation, "secret pacts and bitter partisan rivalries burst out of their icy political realm and tumble towards wounded families and civil war," Gray said.  

The production showcases Carnegie Mellon's focus on interdisciplinary thinking and participation. Collaborators include faculty from the School of Art, School of Architecture, a composer and arranger from the School of Music, and a graduate studying in both the Schools of Computer Science and Art. Local child actors, between the ages of 8 and 12, will perform as a result of a collaboration with Saltworks Theater Company, a non-profit, professional arts company that addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children, youth and families through theater and the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh. The design elements for "Richard III" reflect the time the piece was written while also being modern and thus resonating with the audience, Gray said.

Ticket prices begin at $15 for adults and $10 for students. For complete ticket prices, call the School of Drama Box Office at 412-268-2407 or visit


Pictured above is a scene from "Richard III." Photo credit: Louis Stein