Theater: Spider King


by William Shakespeare

Richard III is called a "hellhound," an "elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog," "a bottled spider" and a "poisonous bunch-back'd toad."

A playgoer attending the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for Joseph Papp's first summer offering will soon perceive that Kevin Kline does not fit that description. It is not a question of some malformation of body à la Elephant Man, it is a question of a cancerously aberrant soul. Richard III lies somewhere between Iago, with his "motiveless malignity," and Macbeth, who has "supp'd full of horrors" in his naked, unbridled lust for power.

The special quality of Richard is...

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