Hello Folger audiences!
My name is Drew Cortese and I’ll be playing Richard in Folger Theatre’s upcoming production of Richard III (which begins performances on January 28). I’m thrilled to be making my Folger debut, and so very thankful to be returning to Washington, D.C. – a city that has such a robust theatre community and the sophisticated and savvy theatre-goers needed to support it. I’ll be posting entries on this Production Diary to offer you a glimpse into the creative process as we here at the Folger breathe life into this wonderfully challenging piece of text from Master Shakespeare. I do trust that you’ll forgive me if I have a tendency to favor video posts over the written word, but I’m of the mind that the technology allows for a significantly more candid window into this world, while simultaneously relieving me of my tendency to fuss over the smallest of details.
You should also know that introducing Shakespeare to young people has become a sort of personal crusade for me, and something that I know my colleagues at the Folger are particularly passionate about as well. I was fortunate to be exposed to Shakespeare at a young age by some fabulous teachers that really understood the necessity to make that introduction practical, and having added a teaching component to my own career, I’m always amazed by how students who are initially intimidated by the unfamiliar language, or wary of a story told by a dead British guy, can thrust themselves into these richly imaginative worlds by being encouraged to read the plays aloud on their feet with their classmates, rather than sitting silently in a classroom and struggling to connect with the material.
I’ll leave you with the first of a set of videos. This is a conversation that I had with one of my students, Oliver. Great young man…and here, he poses a number of questions for me about Richard III and approaching the role. I hope you enjoy it…and I look forward to seeing all of you at the theatre!