WEST ORANGE, NJ — Luna Stage will present the world premiere of Zachary Elkind’s new adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard II” from Oct. 20 through Nov. 13 on the main stage, 555 Valley Road in West Orange. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Streamlined to a fleet 90 minutes, the play features four actors playing 16 roles, and highlights the humor and urgency of this taut, intimate, heartbreakingly political tragedy.
Elkind was inspired by the timely resonances, as well as the humor and poetry, of this seldom-produced classic.
“Shakespeare’s thrilling, complex language cuts right to the questions we’re asking ourselves today,” Elkind said. “If power is concentrated in one person, is the exercise of that power fundamentally unjust and arbitrary? And if being in power makes a person unable to realize even their own humanity, how can anyone hope to be a ‘good’ king?
“Living in a fraught political time, with an unsecured succession and the ever-present threat of violent insurrection or civil war, Shakespeare wrote a play that daringly considers whether any structured, hierarchical form of power can be legitimate,” Elkind continued.
The role of Richard II will be played by Luna veteran Giuliana Carr, previously seen in the title role of Hannah Arendt, aka Mrs. Stern, in 2019’s “Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library.” Carr will also play the characters of Willoughby, Second Gardener and Duchess of York.
Nathan Darrow, of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” will play Bolingbroke, Green, Ross and Gardener; Darin F. Earl II, of Luna’s “The Giant Void In My Soul,” plays John of Gaunt, Bagot, Duke of York and Hotspur; and Gabby Policano, a three-time Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam winner, rounds out the company as Mowbray, Aumerle, Bushy and Northumberland.
As part of Luna Stage’s commitment to equity and access, all Luna Stage programs are pay-what-you-choose, meaning audience members can choose a price that feels comfortable. There are no forms, no qualifications, no questions. Tickets are available at lunastage.org/richard.