(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)
Hey Brawlers! It’s been a while but summer’s finally (ugh) over so it’s time to get back to our Bardic business. Bear with me for a second while I get my bearings…
Welcome back Brawlers to the Bard Brawl’s tenth play! (trumpets sound)
To celebrate our historic achievement, we bring you Shakespeare history play The Life and Death of Richard the Second. It’s also called Richard II, or R II if you really know your Bard.
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So here we go.
Act III, scene 1. Henry Bolingbroke and his allies have holed up at Bristol castle and they’ve taken two of King Richard’s cronies captive, Bushy and Green. Hank B’s not too pleased that these two brown-nosers have been spreading rumours that got him banished and that they’ve been living it up on the profits of his stolen lands. To show the world that he is a gentleman (meaning a true-blooded badass and not to be f****d with), he has them killed.
In the mean time, King Richard’s been off in Ireland fighting and comes back to England to discover that Bolingbroke’s back for what’s his. Richard’s followers are afraid that he’s in danger of losing the crown. But the Bishop of Carlisle reassures him that since God made him king, that there’s no way that God would let that happen, right? Provided that he stop whining like a baby, stopped hiding out in this castle in Wales and actually tried to do something about it!
Richard’s not worried though because he knows that the presence of his mighty, supernatural, divine awesomeness will break the rebellion!
But then comes the bad news.
He’s got no army. Worse, a bunch of the nobles who were supposed to back him have switched to Bolingbroke’s side.
Not feeling so mighty now, eh?
Bolingbroke’s forces march their way to Flint castle in Wales where Richard is holed up so Bolingbroke can make his formal demands. He kneels and swears fealty to the king and promises to service him faithfully if he gets his lands back and has his banishment repealed. But just in case, he does remind King Richard that he’s got a pretty big posse ready to kick down the doors and take what he wants by force.
Does Henry mean it when he says he didn’t come here for the crown? I’m not sure but it certainly does remind me of a few other “No, no. Really, I don’t want the absolute power” moments in Shakespeare. There was a certain Richard Gloucester (you know, Richard III) who refused to rule. And also this guys Julius Caesar which you might have heard about.
Finally, the queen’s pretty bummed about all of this Bolingbroke business and her lady is trying to distract her from her doom and gloom thoughts. She’s not having much success. When some gardeners show up to work on the queen’s garden (get your mind out of the gutter!) the two hide to overhear them. Of course, they’re talking about the latest news which is that Richard is probably going to be deposed. She takes it out on the messenger and runs off to find Richard in London.
(Here’s what really going on with all of the gardening crap. It’s an allegory for the kingdom. They’re really describing how Richard II was a bad ruler who couldn’t weed out the dangerous plants and snakes from his garden. He just assumed that being anointed king was enough and that everything would just sort itself out because, hey, he’s the king. Then along comes Henry Bolingbroke looking to graft himself into the royal family tree as king, get it? Sure you do. You’re pretty smart)
That’s it for act III but stay tuned for act IV soon!
The brawl welcomes back the lovely voice of Kayla Cross, who digs into and delivers sonnet 54 like only she can.
And hey! Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it. Volume II is OUT NOW.
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