Biker Style and Richard III

“For thirty years, over this green uncrowded land, the Wars of the Roses had been fought. But it had been more of a blood feud than a war. A Montague and Capulet affair; of no great concern to the average Englishman. … It was a small concentrated war; almost a private party.”

—Josephine Tey

Our production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, which opens on Oct. 19, 2012, in the Wells-Metz, uses a biker world to provide, according to director Gavin Cameron-Webb, “an immediate context for the audience. The Wars of the Roses can be fairly described as gang wars. Also, the nobles of the time appeared to behave like thugs.”

“This is a metaphorical style,” Cameron-Webb goes on to say, “rather than an updating of the show. It means we are not introducing game boys, smart phones or lap tops. Nor are we using guns.” The biker style makes itself known in the scenery and, especially, in the costumes, where the emblems and badges on gang jackets show allegiances and membership, helping us follow the loyalties and relationships of the characters.

Below are some costume designs by Katie Cowan Sickmeier to give you a taste of the biker style.

Richard, Duke of Gloucester and later King Richard III

Earl Rivers and Sir William Brandon

Elizabeth Woodville and Queen Margaret

Sir Robert Brackenbury and the Earl of Surrey

Lady Anne

King Edward IV and Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond

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About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peak behind the curtain at the Indiana University Theatre Department productions and student work.
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