One of the most beloved traditions in Temecula wine country is set to close out the summer season with the premiere of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”
Presented by Shakespeare in the Vines, the performance will bring the famed playwright’s historic 1591 tale of a flawed king and his treacherous rise to power.
According to the play’s director Patrick Brien, who also acts in the lead role of King Richard, audiences will take note of many modern themes in this ancient story.
“Hopefully we’ll bring the audience to understand the underlying meaning of what drives a person like Richard to these incredible acts of violence,” Brien said.
“A lot of countries still operate like this. People rise to power by getting other people out of the way,” said Shakespeare in the Vines founder Sheila Ryle.
To underscore this, Brien has moved the play’s setting to the 1930s — a time in history when Hitler staged a similar climb to power.
“This is one of the more challenging pieces I’ve ever taken on,” he said, adding that he has acted in or directed over 300 plays and currently sits on the Board of the Riverside Arts Council.
Despite the strong themes, Brien said audiences will experience a spectrum of emotions — some positive.
“They will laugh. At times they may cry or feel frightened. And at times, they will be inspired by this story,” Brien said.
Brien said that the cast is strong and some will be recognizable from their work in previous Shakespeare in the Vines productions and other plays performed throughout the region.
Brien said: “One of the stars of this show is Temecula wine country. The setting is unmatched.”
William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” begins at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9-12 17,-19, 24-25 at Callaway Vineyards and Winery, located at 32720 Rancho California Road, Temecula.
To learn more, visit shakespeareinthevines.org.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.