Last June I got an e-mail from Hong Kong ticketing that the current London West End production of Richard III
starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey would be coming to Hong Kong in September and ticket sales had begun. Rather than buy tickets assuming I'd find friends who wanted to go, the high cost of the tickets made me want to have confirmations first.
That was a mistake!
24 hours after tickets went on sale I called the box office...they were all sold out!
For an amateur Shakespeare aficionado like myself this hurt. Living in Hong Kong does not offer opportunities like this all the time.
Yesterday though Gabriel and I went down to the 3:00 matinee on the off chance someone would be wanting to get rid of tickets. Unfortunately everyone that had an extra ticket or two had the high price "good" seats. I was looking for some more economical tickets. I told Gabriel to stick by me as I thought if someone was going to "dump" a good ticket cheap they would do it with the altruistic thought that they were giving it to a guy who was trying to expose his son to Shakespeare. (Hey I don't have a lot to work with)
Well, one lady had two HK$ 1000 tickets (US$ 130) to sell but the max I wanted to pay for 2 tickets was HK$ 800 (or less)...so we had a bit of a gulf between us. As the 3 o'clock start time loomed I saw her talking to her husband and she came over and said, "I want to give a ticket to a student so I'll give you both tickets for HK$1000." Although this was a little over my budget she was basically giving me a free HK$1000 dollar ticket and I wasn't going to let HK$ 200 (US$ 25) stop me from seeing Kevin Spacey doing Shakespeare.
The tickets were prime...12th row center! And the performance? Some have said that Spacey overplays Richard III...but thats what I like in a live show. Spacy's Richard is the twisted shell of a man whose movement's on stage mimic a spider scurrying between his victims as he spins his web. His performance was brilliant and in my humble opinion he is a master of what actors affectionately refer to as "the craft".
The set design was both spartan and creative using twin hallways of doors to serve not only as means of entrance and exit but to represent key plot points such as the show's numerous murders and executions.
Director Sam Mendes utilized video, music, and a little political satire of his own to enhance the story and bring fresh dimensions to an old tale ripe for a new generation.
Probably the best moment, and one any father will appreciate, is coming out of a 3 hour Shakespeare performance and having your teenage son say, "Wow, that was great!"