The story of “Richard Cory” is long-familiar from two different sources.
It originated as an Edwin Arlington Robinson poem, a favorite of high school dramatic recitations since its publication in 1897.
Then, in the mid-1960s, Paul Simon adapted the poem and popularized it as a folk song, told from the point of view of a man who “worked in his factory.”
Suddenly “Richard Cory” was a staple of subterranean coffee houses.
Tonight, the story is presented in yet a third medium: the live stage.
In 1976, A.R. Gurney took Robinson’s short poem and fleshed it out as a psychological drama. It was one of the earlier works by a playwright who, in the next two decades, would become one of America’s finest living playwrights (“Love Letters,” “The Cocktail Hour”).
The Spokane Civic Theatre is presenting this A.R. Gurney play, beginning tonight, in the intimate Firth Chew Studio Theatre.
Those who remember the poem and the folk song already know the basic plot:
Richard Cory has everything a person could want. Richard Cory is admired by the entire town. Richard Cory goes home and puts a bullet in his head.
However, Gurney tosses in some new twists, one of which can be deduced from the original title he gave the play, “Who Killed Richard Cory?”
The play begins with a recitation of the Robinson poem. The poem then functions as a recurring Greek chorus throughout the play, setting up and commenting on the action.
Gurney deliberately makes the time and place vague, to give the play a timeless and almost dreamlike quality.
The Studio Theatre’s version is directed by Kevin Kuban.
Richard Cory will be played by Tony Caprile.
Other cast members are: Matt Hemmelman, Nancy Burney Huck, K.C. Johnson, Craig J. Kassa, Oran D. Lord, Peggy Mayer, Mari Morando, Ted Redman, Dylan Underhill and Megan Mary West.
The show continues through April 1. Call 325-2507 for tickets.
“Twelve Dancing Princesses”
The Spokane Children’s Theatre continues “Twelve Dancing Princesses,” a comical musical show for children, this weekend and next at the Spokane Civic Theatre.
This show is about a fairy godmother to 12 princesses who sneak out of the castle nightly to dance until dawn.
The king notices dusty, worn-out shoes each morning, and promises a bride to the person who can solve the mystery.
Jean Hardie, well-known as the mother superior in “Nunsense,” plays the fairy godmother.
The director and choreographer is Kathie Doyle-Lipe, another “Nunsense” alumnus from the Civic.
This show runs through March 19. Tickets are $3 at the door.
The Spokane Civic Theatre will host Kaleidoscope ‘95, the Washington State Community Theatre competition, on March 17-19.
Eight community theaters from around the state will present onehour plays at the Civic Main Stage.
The plays will be judged by an adjudicator.
For information and tickets, call 325-2507.