Jonjo O’Neill’s portrayal of Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2012) is one of my favourite characters, and continues to inspire me.
Although I didn’t see the production live, this clip of his opening soliloquy (Act 1, Scene 1) changed many of my views on approaching Shakespeare.
Jonjo owned the character before he even said a word.
The entrance, walk, use of space, provocative approach to the camera and eye contact all came together to create the character, without speaking! I also love his movement through this piece – the deformity that we normally think of in Richard is quite muted here, it’s there without dominating. It feels to me like he has lived with these impairments all his life and has moved beyond them. The impairments are there and they shape who he is, but Jonjo doesn’t need to draw our attention to them physically.
Richard is who he is, informed by his physicality, but with his own character showing through in the language. Jonjo let’s the words do the work, rather than over doing the movement.
I love that.
This clip inspired me to audition for my first acting school > Verve Studios, Melbourne. The start of my journey