Richard III 2017

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Directed by Skye Brandon, Set Design by Stephen Wade, Costume Design by Beverley Kobelsky, Sound Design by Clinton Akerman

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After a long civil war between the royal families of York and Lancaster, two branches of the larger Plantagenet family tree, England enjoys a period of peace under King Edward IV and the victorious Yorks.  But Edward’s youngest brother, Richard, has his sights set on the crown, and begins to secretly aspire for the throne.  He begins by wooing Lady Anne to marry him – even though she knows that he killed her first husband during the war.  He has his other brother, Clarence, executed, and shifts the burden of guilt onto his sick older brother King Edward, in order to accelerate Edward’s illness and death.  After King Edward dies, Richard is appointed Lord Protector of England – the figure in charge until the elder of Edward’s two sons reaches maturity.  He then has the boys’ uncle on their mother’s side- the brother of Edward’s wife, Queen Elizabeth-arrested and executed.  Next, Richard seizes and puts to death Lord Hastings, the lord chamberlain of England.  With Elizabeth and the princes now unprotected, Richard has his political allies, particularly his cousin, the Duke of Buckingham, campaign to have Richard crowned king.  Richard then, in his bloodiest move yet, has the princes assassinated while they are in residence at the Tower.  Shortly after Richard’s reign begins, rumors circulate about a challenger to the throne gathering forces in France.  The challenger is the Earl of Richmond, a descendant of a secondary arm of the Lancaster family.  Richard, in the meantime, tries to consolidate his power.  He has his wife, Queen Anne, murdered, so that he can marry young Elizabeth, the daughter of the former Queen Elizabeth and the dead King Edward.  Though young Elizabeth is his niece, the alliance would secure Richard’s claim to the throne, while also preventing a marriage between young Elizabeth and Richmond.  Richmond finally arrives in England, and during the night before the Battle of Bosworth, Richard has a terrible dream in which he is visited by the ghosts of those he has had killed.  The following morning, Richard and Richmond meet in battle to determine England’s future.

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