A darkly comic, smashed-up retelling of Richard III, Shakespeare’s classic tale about the lust for power, Teenage Dick reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a high-school outsider in junior year: the deepest winter of his discontent.
Picked on because of his disability (as well as his sometimes creepily Shakespearean way of speaking), Richard is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming president of the senior class. But like all teenagers, and all despots, he is faced with the hardest question of all: is it better to be loved, or feared?
Mike Lew’s play Teenage Dick was commissioned and developed by The Apothetae, a company dedicated to plays that explore and illuminate the ‘Disabled Experience’. It was first performed by Ma-Yi Theater Company at the Public Theater, New York, in 2018, and received its UK premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, London, in December 2019, directed by Artistic Director Michael Longhurst.
‘Retells Shakespeare with a much-needed urgency, providing an arch reminder that the voices of the disabled have often been ignored, terrorised or shouted down from the earliest possibility… Lew’s writing neatly blends Shakespearean rhetoric with everyday speech… sharp and highly enjoyable… more plays of this calibre, telling the stories they do, are very much needed and welcome to explore our own ingloriousness’
— Broadway World
‘Bursting onto the stage and bringing a hundred innuendos with it, Mike Lew’s vibrant play mashes up teen films based on Shakespeare, (think 10 Things I Hate About You), and Richard III to present a potent and relevant play about our times and power… riffs beautifully from Shakespeare’s original, with enough mashing up of the verse to make the audience laugh out loud at the tributes to the Bard. But, more importantly, it is a play for today’
‘A smart, probing play… sinks a cunning, shining dagger into an author who’s buried in centuries of history and glory’
— Time Out
‘A raggedly brilliant evening… both deals in and subverts the dizzy, hyper-tense energy that drives American school dramas… boldly challenges the audience’
— Evening Standard
‘This is not just muscular writing by Mr Lew; it also has the ping of absolute authenticity’
— New York Times
‘[A] sharp modern-day reinvention’
— Time Out (New York)