I need to be a bit careful here to separate my impressions of the actual show from the (entirely serendipitous, I am not that good at planning) Q&A session with some of the cast and the Assistant Director afterwards, in terms of what I took away from what they did.*
The most important thing to note is that this production is stripped back – in almost every sense. A neat 100 minute running time (no interval) was just the start – the actors performed in a square box, riveted metal, which didn’t even have a single door (they all stayed on stage the whole time), the only props were some six or so buckets (about which more later), the costumes were simple shirts and trousers in uniformly dark colours, and there was little (but not quite nothing) in the way of sound and lighting effects.
I went back to Wilderness this year and again spent a happy hour listening to the Bookshop Band. Since coming home I’ve spent additional happy hours listening to their albums and noodling around their website – and now I’ve found their Shakespeare archive I’m even happier.
I’m going to advise you all to check out their songs (no matter what books you’re into, you’ll find something you like), buy their albums, and listen to this awesome song based on Richard II…
Barbican Theatre (RSC production)
In a fit of – I don’t know exactly what but it certainly wasn’t sanity – I bought tickets to see The King and Country tetralogy (also known as the Hollow Crown) over three days at the Barbican.
What with the Guardian talking about DruidShakespeare and Twitter’s #ShakespeareSunday focussing on the Plantagenet plays, I have been revisiting Richard II. I haven’t seen it yet in my ten-year tenure, but I saw a powerful version with Ralph Fiennes as Richard many moons ago, and of course I have watched the spectacular (literally) Hollow Crown version with Ben Wishaw in the lead. There has been a recent run of famous faces taking on the role – I hope it continues.