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Ricardo II: Bilingual Shakespeare

By Cymbeline Anthropocene on Nov 05, 2020 at 05:26 PM in Fringe Projects

As theatres continue to adapt their productions to continuing global pandemic measures, theatre companies like Merced Shakespearefest are transforming some productions into film. Enter Ricardo II: A Bilingual Adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard II, a production originally intended for the stage, which has begun airing in weekly episodes on Merced Shakespearefest's Youtube channel.

Filmed on location in Merced, California, Ricardo II features a full cast of actors speaking both English and Spanish, with subtitles in both languages. The play's original text seamlessly alternates between both languages, with Spanish translations by Ángel Nuñez, who also co-directed the production with William Wolfgang, Maria Ngyuen-Cruz. 

Each episode opens with an original theme song by Cathryn Florez, introducing the play's "two voices, one story, [and] a land divided." Episode one, "Traición Bien Conocida / Well Known Treason" features King Ricardo II (Alejandro Gutiérrez) mediating a heated dispute between Henry Bolingbroke of Hereford (Greg Ruelas) and Tomás Mercedes of Norfolk (Cynthia Robles), known as Thomas Mowbray in the original text. The episode closes on a cliffhanger as Ricardo II leads the opponents away to a formal duel--the subject of episode two. 

Stay tuned as we continue to recap each subsequent episode on this blog, and enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home (--and spy a mention of Cymbeline in the Anthropocene collaborators Katherine Steele Brokaw and Paul Prescott in the credits)!