A C T I N G
I'm finally back in the game after 15 years, and while I'm not making a new career out of it, I'm open to the right projects.
"Danger abounds in viewing Elizabethan values through a modern lens. Yet, nothing in Shakespeare's work implies that Richard's curved back in fact limited him - he fought in battle, he wooed and won the widow of one of his murder victims with his eloquence, and he appears to have interacted normally with loving family members, until he started killing them off. Richard seems an unlikely candidate to have grown so alienated that he transformed into a homicidal megalomaniac. What if Richard were cut off from the world, not because of imaginary barriers caused by his physical appearance, but because he was born deaf and couldn't communicate without interpreters? That is the premise of Richard III, as presented in NextStop Theatre Company's brilliant first professional production, which includes both deaf and hearing actors...Gallaudet Associate Professor Ethan Sinnott, director of the university's theater program, and himself deaf, returns to acting for the first time in fifteen years to play Richard. His performance is mesmerizing, conveying emotions running the gamut from feigned warmth to anger and cruelty through his facial expressions, hand motions, and an occasional shriek or spoken word. His sympathetic demeanor as much as his "silver tongue" seduces his victims into doing his bidding. In the case of Professor Sinnott's Richard, looks are deceiving."
"If playing Richard as a Deaf man seems gimmicky, well, I've seen him played, successfully (and famously) on crutches, as a Dr. Strangelove-type Nazi, and with a medicine-ball-size hump. The role itself is gimmicky. Yet, Snyder comes to her interpretation via a sustained allegorical arc running through the play about the role of language in Richard's destiny....Most gimmicks, including those inherent in the role of Richard, lose their way as the play progresses. However, in this production, Richard's deafness provides a huge payoff at play's end. Of the 14 stage productions of Richard III I've attended, including those with Antony Sher, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Kevin Spacey, and Mark Rylance in the title role, only one Richard remained engaging through to the end, that of Benjamin Curns in the American Shakespeare Center's 2012 production at the Blackfriars Playhouse....This NextStop production comes closest of any other productions to achieving that standard....For Deaf people watching, Sinnott delights on his own. For the rest of us, in a way, Davis as Buckingham, Corey as Shadow, and Lauer as Catesby share the role of Richard with Sinnott, and this foursome make one helluva Richard III in a Richard III that forces self-reflection in us. We complete the quintet that is Richard."
"[Sinnott] brings to the role of Richard a fierceness and determination that admirably suggests the forcefulness which Richard must have had in abundance. He can portray Richard’s glee at his murderous successes, as well as his deep frustration and anger when things fail to go his way. He is assisted with style and conviction by Sun King Davis (who also plays Buckingham) and Daniel Corey (who also plays Richmond) as well as some of the other actors. One quickly becomes used to Davis and the others as spokespersons for Richard, and in a way they are able to layer on another level of meaning to the acting by speaking Richard’s lines themselves."
"There is an advantage to having Richard played twice – once in spoken word and once in ASL – and it’s this: Shakespeare’s Richard is a man with a double heart. On the outside, he is all honeyed words and graciousness, but on the inside he is a cauldron of greed, need and rage. Not every actor can pull this off, but here the vocalizers – particularly the superb Davis – give us the smooth and loving Richard, and Sinnott, whose ASL pops with explosiveness and whose face is wreathed in contempt when it is not full of longing and desperation, gives us Richard as he really is. The payoff is that we come to understand how hard it was for Richard to be two people at once....and the close-quarter fight between Richard and Richmond which Casey Kaleba stages is excellent."
"Snyder’s Richard (played admirably by Deaf actor and Gallaudet professor Ethan Sinnott) is a visibly frustrated presence. The full cast is composed of both Deaf and hearing actors. The hearing characters seem to blow him off at the start. They will pay a high price for this disrespect as Shakespeare’s play progresses to its fore-ordained conclusion....[u]nder Snyder’s direction, at first, the hearing characters pay Richard little heed. They look at him as if he is almost a clown. He tries to gain the audience’s sympathy and win trust even as he decides to “prove a villain” plotting to kill off his rivals, whether man, woman or child, to become King Richard III. He will prove himself worthy of attention and respect in his own hot-tempered manner. As the play progresses, Richard is as villainous and sneaky as The Bard wrote him. With Sinnott’s acting talents and his use of ASL with expressive body and facial movements, we can, if open to it, see and hear a fresh way to absorb Shakespeare’s language and rhetoric. This may not be for everyone or those with a more traditional view of how the malleable Shakespeare is to be performed."
"The NextStop Theatre Company’s first 2014 production presents a well-staged, powerfully acted version of this difficult Shakepeare play. Ethan Sinnott...gives us an athletic, intense Richard who moves from disaffection to eventual hysteria as his fortunes rise and fall. Comparison to other famous modern Richards like actors Olivier, McKellen, and Spacey fail, however, because they had to limp, and he can jump, run and do acrobatic rolls in his performance."