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Savor the Audacious

NextStop's unexpected take on Shakespeare's "Richard III."

Lindsey D. Snyder, director of NextStop's "Richard III."

Lindsey D. Snyder, director of NextStop's "Richard III."

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Photo courtesy of NextStopTheatre

Ethan Sinnott will be Richard III in NextStop's "Richared III."

Where and When:

NextStop Theatre Company presents Shakespeare's "Richard III" at the Industrial Strength Theater, 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon. Performances are Jan. 30 – Feb. 23. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $20-$27. Visit www.nexstoptheatr... or call 866-811-4111.

A daring performance of Shakespeare's "Richard III" is coming to Herndon. "This is something that has never been done and an amazing opportunity to bring Shakespeare back to Herndon in a bold new way ... It will be an experience that is not to be missed,” Evan Hoffman said, artistic director of NextStop Theatre's production of "Richard III."

"Our work has so often been about pushing the envelope and being just as bold with the classics as we are with newer works," Hoffman said. In this instance, he is describing a production that will feature a deaf actor in the lead role of Richard, one of the Bard's most charming bad boy villains.

Richard is the fascinating character who kills off rivals to become king and serenades one of the widows. Ultimately he meets his fate on a field of battle. Ethan Sinnott, a deaf actor and chair of the theater department at Gallaudet, will play Richard. He and several other actors will use American Sign Language (ASL) that will be interpreted for the hearing audience and the hearing cast members.

"Richard III" will be directed by Dr. Lindsey Snyder who regularly works with the Kennedy Center, Ford's Theatre, and Faction of Fools, to name a few. She re-imagines the play from a Richard without a visible physical deformity but who is hard of hearing. Shakespeare characterized Richard as "Cheated of feature by dissembling nature, Deformed, unfinished..." Snyder's Richard is a deaf man driven by "an unsympathetic hearing world."

It is from "Richard III" that lines such as, “Now is the winter of our discontent, " or "Talkers are no good doers: be assur'd, We go to use our hands, and not our tongues" come. In this approach, Shakespeare's rhetoric will be communicated in new-found manners.

Her concept will "present Richard as isolated. He is Hard of Hearing. He can't easily share thoughts with the other characters," said Snyder.

Richard will still be "the villain people love to hate. He will be villainous, scandalous, sneaky and charming," according to Snyder. He will give the audience a performance where the spoken word cannot be taken for granted in conveying actions or thoughts.

"This is not just an exercise or overlay. The clarity of Shakespeare's text will be there, just in a unique way," added Snyder. This is a singular opportunity to re-experience the richness of Shakespeare's storytelling.