Friday morning ruminations after a night at the theatre:
Shakespeare’s Richard II, although written over 400 years ago, is surprisingly fresh and relevant. Richard is a young and reckless king who has inherited his (wiser) father’s kingdom, and is busy robbing his country of its wealth in order to finance his foreign wars. He has surrounded himself with flatterers and sycophants, who warn him too late of the enemies he has made amongst those who were once his most loyal supporters.
Richard’s fall is great. And here, the similarities with the 21st Century end because, you see, Richard is intelligent. Poetic. Remorseful. Shakespeare loves his Richard II and gives him some of the most beautiful and stirring lines ever written. When Richard succumbs to the bloody tragedy of his destiny, we weep for him and for centuries of foolish ambitions of kings and dukes and party leaders.
There is a moment, dark and brief and silent, between the last line of spoken dialog and the eruption of applause, when the weight of the drama suspends time, transforms reality and sinks into one’s senses in one, sweeping rush.
Alas, the fall of The House of Shrub doth cause none rainy eye, but only merriment and glee.