Czech out father, daughter in play
Rutherford “Ruddy” Cravens has taught his daughter Sarah about Shakespeare for many years, but the Montrose resident will soon see if his lessons have taken hold.
Sarah, 13, will make her professional stage debut in “Richard III” at Main Street Theater with her dad, an actor well-known in Houston theater circles for his roles in Shakespearean plays.
Sarah admits she is nervous about her upcoming performance, but she has already been acting for several years.
Ruddy Cravens will play Hastings, and Sarah will portray one of three children in the play.
The play is being co-produced with the Prague Shakespeare Festival in the Czech Republic. It will play in Houston in April and May, then be staged in Prague in June.
Cravens is looking forward to returning to Prague, this time with Sarah and his wife, Jane. “I fell in love with the city,” he said. “It was wonderful.”
Cravens is best known locally for his work on the stage, but also has appeared on both the small and big screens, such as the TV series “Breaking Bad” and the movie No Country for Old Men, among many other performances.
When asked what his favorite medium is, Cravens described himself as “old school,” adding, “I really love the theater. TV is a well-paid vacation. It's fun.”
Between his Shakespeare outreach program and acting jobs, Cravens said he's lucky to have “carved together a living.”
The secret to understanding Shakespeare, Cravens said, is to see it performed. “They teach Shakespeare as literature,” said Cravens. “It's meant to be read; it's meant to be seen.
“It's like handing kids the sheet music for a Mozart string quartet and saying, 'Isn't that beautiful?’”
Cravens got bit by the acting bug in college when a friend who had a scheduling conflict asked him to take over his nonspeaking role in Thornton Wilder's “Skin of Our Teeth.”
Not only did he get a laugh every time he was rolled across the stage in a wheelchair -- the theater was filled with girls in leotards.
“I knew I'd found my home,” Cravens said.
Name: Rutherford “Ruddy” Cravens
Community Connection: Well-known Houston Shakespearean actor appearing with his daughter in her first professional role in “Richard III” at Main Street Theater.
Fast Fact: Cravens loves acting in westerns the most because “you get to ride and shoot.”
Richard III is being staged at Main Street Theater – Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose Blvd. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays, April 26 to May 13. Tickets are on sale at the box office, 2540 Times Blvd., by calling 713-524-6706, or online at www.mainstreettheater.com.
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