If you go
What: "Richard III"
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. March 1 and 2, 2 p.m. March 3
Where: Alban Arts Center, St. Albans
Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors
Info: www.albanartscenter.com or 304-721-8896
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The folks at the Alban Arts Center in St. Albans are chuckling at their great timing.
OK, so it was luck that had them producing Shakespeare's "Richard III" just as British scientists confirmed after extensive testing that remains discovered last summer under an English car park belong to King Richard III, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
"As I tell people, our PR team is apparently fantastic," joked Jeff Bukovinsky, who plays the title role in the show, which opens Friday.
Bukovinsky's friends had a lot of fun with the discovery, announced a couple weeks ago as he was in the midst of learning his lines for the show.
"My Facebook and email were blowing up," he said. "I got everything from 'He looks nothing like you' to 'He looks exactly like you.' "
Richard III - the real one - was not known for being particularly handsome. Some have portrayed him as a hunchback, though the British discovery lays that bit to rest. The late king actually suffered from scoliosis.
That's one detail Bukovinsky's Richard III got right ahead of time.
He said actors have portrayed the king as everything from a deformed hunchback to a half-crippled character.
"I'm not playing him all doubled over," Bukovinsky said. "It's not something you can ignore in the play because someone calls me a 'hunchback toad' in the opening monologue. So you have to do something. What I do is make it a bit more subtle. I do it where my left arm is not as mobile and my shoulder is raised.
"He wasn't known for being the best-looking fellow - and maybe that's why I was cast," he added, laughing.