Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

30 days of Shakespeare: Day 10 - Your favourite history

Just for reference, the histories are generally considered to include:

King John
Edward III
(if counted as Shakespeare)
Richard II
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1
Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 3
Richard III
Henry VIII

As previously reported, my favourite of these is Richard III. Apart from the excellent character of Richard himself, I think Margaret of Anjou is an interesting character, and it's the first history play in which we hear much from women at all. There are several remarkable scenes. The killings in the Tower, of Clarence and the Princes, stand out as points of no return in Richard's rise and fall respectively. (I note for future use that this play was probably first performed in 1592, the year my ancestor Sir Nicholas Whyte also snuffed it in the tower, though as far as we know he died of relatively natural causes.) The Bosworth field hauntings and subsequent battle are a great climax to the play.

The most intriguing scene for me, however, was Act 4 Scene 4, which starts with Queen Margaret getting a decent soliloquy ("So, now prosperity begins to mellow, / And drop into the rotten mouth of death"); she then confronts Queen Elizabeth (Edward IV's widow) and the Duchess of York (Edward IV and Richard III's mother); she buggers off to France, but the other two women get a chance to confront Richard; his mother leaves, and he astonishingly persuades Queen Elizabeth to let him marry her daughter (his own niece, after having murdered her father and his own first wife); and then a series of nobles and messengers come with confusing news of Richmond's arrival and rebellions around the land. I'd find this scene particularly difficult to stage and would be tempted to split it up a bit if I were directing. It does, however, show Richard still capable of his old persuasive powers yet vulnerable to meltdown. It's really compelling.

The 30 days:
Day #1: Your favourite play
Day #2: Your favourite character
Day #3: Your favourite hero
Day #4: Your favourite heroine
Day #5: Your favourite villain
Day #6: Your favourite villainess
Day #7: Your favourite clown
Day #8: Your favourite comedy
Day #9: Your favourite tragedy
Day #10: Your favourite history
Day #11: Your least favourite play
Day #12: Your favourite scene
Day #13: Your favourite romantic scene
Day #14: Your favourite fight scene
Day #15: The first play you read
Day #16: Your first play you saw
Day #17: Your favourite speech
Day #18: Your favourite dialogue
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play
Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play
Day #21: An overrated play
Day #22: An underrated play
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line

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