El año de Ricardo and the Degeneration of Europe
El año de Ricardo is the title of Angelica Liddell’s take on William Shakespeare’s Richard III. Through both her rewriting and mise en scène, the irreverent Spanish playwright and performer presents Shakespeare’s infamous character as a prototype of an overambitious, ruthlessly cynical monster, a foul, appalling brute. Ricardo stands for Hitler and for all the villains. (S)he is a baroque spectre, an anamorphic presence which pushes the limits and transforms across time, evolving from a top executive to a president; from a wannabe writer to a doctorate honoris causa. Ricardo’s body undergoes a degenerative process and so does his/her cynical behaviour. Perverse capitalism speaks through Ricardo, a clear embodiment of the corrupt. In this sense, the villainy of Richard III, via Liddell, has been compared to corruption scandals which have occurred in Spain. As a matter of fact, premiered in 2005, the play has been repeatedly onstage since the financial crisis was announced, probably because it provides an opportunity to criticise the people and policies at the heart of the meltdown. This paper focuses on the Shakespearean motifs that build Liddell’s play, paying special attention to the anachronistic twists that serve the purpose of revealing Richard/Ricardo’s degeneration in a degenerate Europe.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, Angélica Liddell, performance, appropriation, theatre, European crisis.
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