On the set of “Long Island Richard,” May, 2014 Photo: Isabel Sinistore
In keeping with our commitment to sifting through fragments of Western and American culture with an eye towards advancing insights that can be put to transformative use, The Straddler has sought to emphasize performance since our founding. We see performance as investigation akin to the criticism that appears in our magazine—and view all critical investigation as creative expression. The texts that appear on our pages lead to the performance-based projects we mount beyond them.
Building on previous Straddler theatrical productions of two original plays (Too Far Gone Out in the Middle of Nowhere and Trousers), as well as a staged version of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, The Straddler began shooting its first film production in May of 2014. Long Island Richard is an adaptation of Richard III that incorporates material from several texts by Shakespeare. Whereas many adaptations of Shakespeare avail themselves of updated time periods and familiar locales in order to help audiences better understand Shakespeare’s work, Long Island Richard puts to use selections from Shakespeare in order to examine and better understand a familiar locale in our own time.
Built on economic aspiration, manufactured pastoral settings, and white flight, Long Island looms large as a presence in the development of postwar America as one of the country’s first large-scale suburbs. With a history of serving as a prototype for the rest of the nation, it is perhaps an apt location to investigate particular logics at work within the country writ large. Paired with this setting, the text of Richard III, when viewed though the lens of an American ethos, can appear, among many other things, as a quintessential get-rich-quick scheme.
Long Island Richard will be screened in 2015.