Directed by Sam Mendes, “The Bridge Project” (January 3, 2009 to March 4, 2012), was a collaboration between The Old Vic and Neal Street Theaters and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It’s goal was for American and British actors to work with one another in many of Shakespeare’s works including, “The Winter’s Tale,” “As You Like It,” “The Tempest,” and finally, “Richard III,” starring Kevin Spacey.
After performing “Richard III” at The Old Vic in 2011, the company brought the show on the road for ten months, performing the play in Greece, Naples, Italy, Istanbul, Turkey, Sydney, Australia, Doha, Qatar, Hong Kong, Beijing, and San Francisco. It is no wonder when they finally arrived at BAM in NYC for 198 performances from January 10 to March 4, 2012, that they were so incredible.
A documentary entitled, “Now: In the Wings on a World Stage” played at the Tribeca Film Festival tonight, April 21, 2014. Demonstrating how the actors prepared, collaborated with one another, and bonded together on and off the stage, the film allowed the viewer to get up close and personal with the theater company, while taking you behind the scenes of the world tour and performances of Sam’s “Richard III,” starring Kevin Spacey.
Kevin admitted that “theater is like walking on a tightrope, I love to get that much closer to the edge.” "The goal? To bring Shakespeare’s work to life, and to take a character (King Richard III), who had been born with a deformity, had heard every derogatory joke imaginable, who was born into royalty, and to turn all of those factors into strengths, and not weaknesses. I let the play take me and it always does. Our job is to bring the writers, in this case, Shakespeare’s work, to life, and in the case of “Richard III,” I wanted to bring the power struggle to life, he lacks a conscience.”
Showing the scene from the Sam Mendes directed film from 1999, “American Beauty,” where Kevin is about to have a moment with his wife (Annette Bening), when she stops and screams, “You are about to spill your drink on our $4000 Italian silk sofa!” Depressed suburban father, Lester Burnham (played by Spacey), rebuts, “This is not living, this is just stuff. It doesn’t mean anything.”
In that regard, it is evident, that Mr. Spacey wanted more than just the theater for this company. He wanted all the actors TO LIVE LIFE, TO TRAVEL, and to spend time with one another, showing clips of them on a yacht in the south of Italy, and riding in an SUV in the middle of the desert together. However, there was mention that the distance and hotels does take a toll on their real families lives.
“Kevin allowed me ownership of the text.”
“Kevin is mercurial, mysterious, and an observer.”
“We have to remember that what we are doing is playing.”
Article by Sharon Abella
One World Cinema