‘These our actors’: Histrionics in Shakespeare’s ‘King Richard III’ and Al Pacino’s ‘Looking for Richard’

William Christie


This article offers a reading of Shakespeare’s Richard III through the lens of what Al Pacino calls his ‘doco-drama type thing’, Looking for Richard, which examines (amongst other things) the meaning and value of Shakespeare’s poetic drama over time, national traditions of actors and acting, and the protracted battle between scholarship and the theatre for authority over the Shakespearean inheritance. Using ideas of ‘the histrionic’ and focusing on the centrality of the protagonists and their preoccupation with acting, the article discusses ways in which Richard III and Looking for Richard can be seen to reflect and illuminate each other.

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