WHAT "Teenage Dick"
WHERE The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.
INFO From $50; 212-967-7555, publictheater.org
BOTTOM LINE A brilliant reimagining of Shakespeare's "Richard III."
"Now is the winter of our discontent" translates to “now that the winter formal gives way to glorious spring fling” in Mike Lew’s brilliantly imaginative “Teenage Dick,” a collaboration between The Public Theater, the Ma-Yi company and The Apothetae, a group founded by Gregg Mozgala devoted to "illuminating the disabled experience."
Lew replaces the malevolent king with 16-year-old Richard Gloucester, who has cerebral palsy and wants to be president of the senior class. Starring an impressive Mozgala (who does, in fact, have cerebral palsy) as Richard, the play tinkers with lines from the source material ("My kingdom for some horsepower") along with other Shakespeare works, even "Hamilton" (talk less, shower more).
But it would be a mistake to let such frivolity take away from the intensity of this play, as Richard seeks to get even with those who have bullied him so relentlessly. The bloodbath at the end is every bit as tragic and gruesome as in the original. Truthfully, it's far more frightening, as recent news events have made all too clear.