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By Olivia Kiers / July 13, 12:00 AM
Boston Accent: Return of the King

Actor Faran Tahir brings the title character in Richard III to life in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s free Shakespeare on the Common production

Photo: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

 

“Boston is near and dear to my heart,” says Faran Tahir, the acclaimed actor known for roles in TV and film, including Captain Robau in Star Trek and Raza in Iron Man. Tahir’s Boston roots go back to his student days, when he attended Harvard’s A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training. In 1996, he played Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s first-ever free outdoor production, then held in Copley Square. “It was amazing!” he remembers. “Sharing the story, out in the open in the middle of the city, was remarkable.”    


This summer, Tahir is returning to Boston—and to the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company—as the title character in Richard III (July 18–August 5). “I could not be more excited, for many reasons. Just knowing how much Commonwealth Shakespeare has grown in all this time is one. Another reason is my ties to Boston. And then to explore this really rich, delicious character—it’s a trifecta that dreams are made of!”


Tahir promises that this version of Shakespeare’s classic historical drama will be “a very crisp and fresh production, which audiences will connect to.…It is a very timely play.” He elaborates: “We are bringing to it a more modern look and a silhouette, which I think aids us to look at ourselves better. Sometimes, when we look at things or people in costumes from the past, we think that we do not face the problems present in the play anymore—and yet these are problems that we still face.…Richard III has mirrors that we can look into.”


To anyone who isn’t convinced that Shakespeare is for them, Tahir urges you to reconsider. “This strange fear that people have that somehow the language or the story might be impenetrable is a myth that I would like to destroy, really. I think our production is very accessible to people. I think people will connect with it no matter what age they are.” The popularity of Shakespeare on the Common year after year, with countless people coming out to relax or picnic while watching the free production, is strong proof that Tahir is right. “It will be exciting,” he concludes, “and I’m hoping that people will have fun!”

Place:
Tremont St., Boston, MA
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