What better way to spend a summer evening than catching a free, open-air Shakespeare play? When Shakespeare on the Common returns to the grassy stage, Faran Tahir will take on the titular role in Richard III. A graduate of American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University, Tahir sees Boston as his old stomping ground, and he loves being back. He appreciates the democratic, inclusive nature of free public theater in Boston.
“You have the right and the freedom to leave anytime you want, but we are there because we are enjoying this evening together,” he tells Metro. “It brings people of all walks of life, all ages, all different backgrounds, together. To share that universality is the most amazing gift ever.”
Tahir, whose credits include Captain Robau in “Star Trek” (2009) and Raza in “Iron Man” (2008) as well as guest appearances on “Law & Order” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” insists that audiences will find humanity in his character despite his truly evil behavior. Richard III’s nightmares offer a window into his psyche, betraying a guilty conscience. Tahir admits that there is even a point at which Richard III’s own evil becomes too much for him to handle.
“The challenge becomes for us as actors and viewers to see [if we] can find the other side of this character so that we can make him more human rather than just a stereotypical, mustache-twirling bad guy,” Tahir says.
Faran Tahir talks Shakespeare on the Common
According to Tahir, the “collective intelligence” of the audience should pick up on parallels between the current political climate and the show during the Shakespeare on the Common performance. He says the play is meant to hold a mirror up to reality, moving people to stand up to evil acts we see happening in front of us.
“Unless we do something about the actions of others in our lives, if we’re not complacent, we can change it,” he explains. “It is absolutely my job, as much as your job, as much as the next guy’s job, to make sure that we find the beauty on this earth.”
Above all, Tahir hopes audiences leave the play motivated to fight injustice.
“We can leave… with the hope and the promise to ourselves that when we see injustice, or when we see evil, or when we see people being misused and mistreated or disrespected, that we stand up and we do something about that,” he says.
If you go: July 18-Aug. 4, Tuesday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m., Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, free, commshakes.org