George Washington University Theater has an uncommonly lavish production of "Richard II," to resume Thursday through Saturday evenings in Marvin Center.
As director and costumer, Paul Parady had created a handsome spectale for his auditorium's wide, thrusting stage. The cast numbers 46, more than Shakespeare's complement, and three trumpeters add to the well-maneuvered melee. Most of the complex history is clear in this careful staging, though subtle details are missing.
With a few exceptions, the production collapses vocally.In the past several years at most university theaters, even the rudiments of voice production have vanished. It is not just a matter of diction.
The concept of vocal training, the voice as box, the lungs as bellows, the larynx as instrument which can produce scale and variations of sound are ignored. This has become common almost everywhere but because the GW visual effects are not unpleasing, the vocal poverty is the more so. The accents are utter babel.
J. Richard Schwartz, on of the vocal exceptions, is not a poor Richard and Nick Mathwich has some skill as Bolingbroke. In lesser roles John Pruessner, as Mowbray, and Mark C. Donovan, as Mowbray, and Mark C. Donovan, as the gardener, give capable performances.
All sorts of theories and experiments occupy university drama students, but why is this most vital, basic quality, the ability to speak, so totally ignored in teaching and, resultantly, in performance?