October 07, 2004

"And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs."

-- King John, Act III, Sc. i


King John by William Shakespeare

Gallagher- King John, Austria, Hubert De Burgh
Wilson- Essex, Faulconbridge, Dauphin, Chatillon, French Herald, Bigot
Myself- Philip the Bastard, Arthur, First Citizen, Cardinal Pandulph
Barbour- Pembroke, James Gurney, King Philip, English Herald, Hubert De Burgh
Paige- Eleanor of Aquitaine, Blanch, Peter of Pomfret, Pembroke
Anna- Constance, Lady Falcounbridge, Messenger, Melun
Scott- Salisbury, Hubert De Burgh, Cardinal Pandulph
Scholl- Salisbury

People just don't do this play, so much. And it's one that I had never read before now . . . but you may recall my recently stated desire to spend more time in the 11th-13th centuries, and this seemed like just the ticket. And it was a good play!

Of course, it was Shakespeare.

The title quote, by the way, comes from a really funny running joke that . . . would take too long to explain. It was a great play to read after watching The Lion in Winter about a month back. Kind of like a sequel, basically. John, Eleanor, and Philip II are all back, and all of the other major characters have spouses or hellspawn floating around. That alone makes it worthwhile.

I know Gallagher enjoyed himself as King John, Wilson as the Dauphin, and Barbour as King Philip II. The breakdown largely worked . . . I could really see them squaring off like this. I had a great deal of fun playing Philip, the bastard son of Richard Coeur-de-lion, who is an unusual combination of fearless, capable leader (hero), scoundrel (anti-hero), and court jester (comic relief). He is particularly interesting as the one competent leader on the English side . . . and through a trick of fate he has no chance of becoming king. And that doesn't bother him at all. I'll have to remember his character for possible fun literary analysis and historical research later . . .

In fact, for all that King John is largely ignored, it has a very lively cast of compelling characters. I had no trouble imagining any of them as real people. Definitely worthwhile.

Posted by Jared at October 7, 2004 11:59 PM | TrackBack