Working with a World class creative team, cast and crew headed up by Oscar winning duo Sam Mendes and Kevin Spacey (in their first collaboration since the Oscar winning American Beauty). Richard III played for 192 performances in 12 Cities across 4 continents over 11 months over 2011 & 2012. Our journey started on the hallowed ground of the Old Vic rehearsal room where many historic productions were born. Working there was a huge thrill for me. Most of my theatrical heroes have crafted characters and create legendary productions for that famous theatre.
Now it was our turn to create a piece of theatre that would live up to the reputation of that great theatre. This project was blockbuster theatre for a World wide audience. The production was sold out way in advance of our arrival in all the countries we visited and was met with almost universal acclaim.
There were many high points to the tour as well as unique challenges that were all the more heightened by the pressure of the success of the show and the burden of recapturing and reshaping the magic of the Old Vic in venues ranging in size from 600 seats to 16,000!
Performing in the Ancient Greek theatre in Epidavros was unquestionably the closest I have come to a spiritual experience in my vocation. It is one of the most special places for a person who works in theatre to go. It is our own Jerusalem – one of the sacred places of theatre.
We played in Greece for 3 magical nights to packed crowds of 16,000 people per day (totalling 48,000 people – More than we had played to in the 6 weeks we had played to at the Old Vic until that point in the run!) The buzz in the air was heightened by my girlfriend (who I am going to marry later this year) arriving in time for the 2nd and 3rd performances. Standing at the back of that theatre, under the glistening heavens, watching a production I had helped to make, I held her hand and knew she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. This was more than just another show!
That last story is one that won’t be in the DVD extras for ‘NOW’. The film is an incredible insight into the magic and rigorous world of taking a show around the globe. The three year experiment that was The Bridge Project was special. It was an artistic and logistical feat of unparalleled ambition headed up by The Old Vic & BAM with Sam Mendes creating productions that would take classical theatre performed by transatlantic casts to the world.
The documentary tells the story of the company’s journey with the play across the world. There were many twists and turns, A lot of ups and a few downs. Jeremy Whelehan and his crew have done a remarkable job in capturing life on the road as well as the impact and power of the production. It was my privilege to be a part of something so wonderful and if the best is yet to come, I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
Watch the Trailer for NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage below.
You can pre-order the film at www.kevinspacey.com/nowthefilm/