Bloody Shakespeare
A New York City theater company producing aggressivly re-imagined renderings of the classics

 

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Press excerpts and photos for Richard the Third and Goal, or R3G

February 2015, Frigid Festival NYC

 

"R3G weaves itself out of the words of Shakespeare’s play and of former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis, and it is one of Frigid’s must-see productions. R3G (a play on RG3, nickname of Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III) sweeps the audience along with its sheer velocity of language, and its juxtapositions can be both startling and revealing in their echoes. It sometimes takes a few seconds to register when we move from Richard to Ray, and how well the heightened language of these two blends together is itself interesting to experience and achieves a Brechtian defamiliarization. Without overt judgment, the play makes visible the overlaps between sports and politics -- the violence, both on and off their respective fields; the reliance on spectacle; the narratives of exceptionalism; the salesmanship: Richard sells himself to Queen Anne after murdering her husband the same as Ray Lewis (himself charged in two murders) sells Gatorade to couch-bound athletes. More unexpected, and perhaps more thought-provoking, are the similarities in Richard’s and Lewis’s rhetoric of self-fashioning and their appeals to God. Less surprising is the emergence of legacy as a motif. Lest all of this sound overserious, R3G bills itself as "comic riff," and it is indeed very funny, but also at times intense. Patrick Toon (as Richard/Lewis), Minna Taylor, and Montgomery Sutton all walk that line perfectly, delivering a magnetic, propulsive performance with little more than some jerseys and a sweatband. Freeman’s play isn’t interested in drawing clear lines or creating one-to-one equivalencies -- the Richard, Anne, and Buckingham figures all speak Lewis’s words--and is the more effective and more intriguing for it. R3G grabs on like some sort of Elizabethan linebacker and doesn’t let go." -Leah Richards and John Ziegler, Culture Catch

 

"A wonderful show. The star of the piece is the writing. Writer Neal J. Freeman writes with a magnificent sense of humor and excellent grasp on comic timing. A hilarious and heartfelt take on a classic." -Off the Beaten Track Theater


"A gem of an idea... The ensemble are delightfully committed to the show’s conceit, and deliver on its promise... This script would serve well anyone trying to introduce reluctant minds to Shakespeare: ably meeting the argument that the Bard’s language is too hard to understand, Freeman’s text pairs Richard III’s kinetic words with [Ray] Lewis’ bloviating: while the latter might have claimed some kind of profundity under the glare of television lights in the context of a football broadcast, compared to Shakespeare, it is revealed as empty nonsense. Nevertheless, truly revelatory moments arrive when the shifts between Shakespeare and sound bites is not instantly apparent: we only realize that we’ve shifted from Shakespeare to Lewis after the shift has happened. It is a vertiginous, exhilarating ride, and well worth the trip." -Sergei Burbank, NYTheater Now

 

"The world Freeman devised was filled with fanfare and fun. His direction was equally matched. The trio of actors were flawless, always ready and able to switch between texts and styles." -Michael Block, Theater in the Now

 

 

Click on image to download a high-res version. Photos by Neal J. Freeman.

Patrick Toon and Montgomery Sutton Patrick Toon Patrick Toon
Patrick Toon and Minna Taylor Patrick Toon Montgomery Sutton and Patrick Toon
Patrick Toon and Montgomery Sutton Patrick Toon and Montgomery Sutton Patrick Toon and Montgomery Sutton
Patrick Toon and Montgomery Sutton Patrick Toon and Minna Taylor Minna Taylor and Patrick Toon

 

Press excerpts and photos from The Nightmare 'Dream'

August 2013, FringeNYC

 

"It's easy to go disastrously wrong with pieces like these, they so easily move into the unsettling milieu of self-indulgent, over-worked fanfiction. To wit, if there's a formula that makes this kind of thing work, I think this show's discovered it: quick and simple. Freeman shows a remarkable amount of restraint in the assembly of the work and in his direction, the pace is swift, the run time is short, and the end result worth every joke that didn't make the cut. Less is More. Nobody took it or themselves too seriously, and that made a potentially eye-rolling/watch-checking gamble into a compelling and hilarious hour of theatre. It ain't art, but they know it, and in the best traditions of the Fringe they are just having fun. Consequently, I had fun with them. Neal J. Freeman does phenomenal work here, walking the line between door-slamming farce and Shakespeare adroitly. The Nightmare 'Dream' is a broad gesture in the simplest fashion that doesn't backfire. Considering the constraints of the NY Fringe Festival, it is a resounding success, and a reminder that the ancient tome of storytelling is best when it's fast, simple, and full of well-timed double-takes to the house." -Tzipora Kaplan, Theatre Is Easy

 

"Mr. Freeman directs with a lightweight sense of fun." -Anita Gates, The New York Times

 

"Bloody Shakespeare has crafted a clever, fast-paced hybrid. The Nightmare 'Dream' deftly fuses horror and farce. The production is light and amusing, rife with literary allusions and playful asides that keep the audience from attempting to take its premise too seriously. A bloody good romp." -The Villager

 

"This is a treat for lovers of vampires and Shakespeare." -Carissa Cordes, NYTheatre.com

 

"Writer Neal J. Freeman directs his spoof-mix with admirable precision and humor. The character of Oberon/Dracula/Puck looms. Dracula 'consorts with black brow'd night' and reigns over Titania and her fairies, who are snarling vampires. Theseus and Egeus, a terrific comedy duo, weave through this fun concoction. Mad Renfield quotes Shakespeare and Stoker with equal blazing delirium. With the bright acting, outsize histrionic posturing, and inspired costumes, The Nightmare 'Dream' is a solid fringe offering, sure to please -- oh, I mean scare. -Kathryn Osenlund, Curtain Up

Click on image to download a high-res version. Photos by Neal J. Freeman.
The Nightmare Dream The Nightmare Dream
Minna Taylor and Patrick Toon.

Bethany Geraghty, Akyiaa Wilson,
Jack Berenholtz, and Eli Sibley.

Greg Horton, Jan-Peter Pedross,
Melanie Hopkins, and Bethany Geraghty.
The Nightmare Dream The Nightmare Dream

Bethany Geraghty, Akyiaa Wilson,
and Eli Sibley

Montgomery Sutton, Minna Taylor,
Greg Horton, and Jack Berenholtz
Patrick Toon and Minna Taylor

Promo video: Meet The Creative Team

Promo video: Meet the lovers

Promo video: Meet the immortals

 

Neal J. Freeman on The State of Shakespeare podcast

 

 

 

Home Press The Nightmare 'Dream'

  

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