Welcome back Brawlers to the Bard Brawl’s tenth play! (trumpets sound)
This week, we bring you act IV of Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of Richard the Second. We know that’s not the catchiest title so we figured we’d give Shakespeare the Bard Brawl boost and help him find a better title. Cast your vote for your favourite alternate title here!
Only one scene in act IV but it’s a long one!
Bolingbroke ‘s gathered with his supporters in Westminster Hall in London and it’s time to start settling scores. Bolingbroke accuses Bagot of killing the Duke of Gloucester but Bagot, who’s pretty sure his number is up, is looking to take someone with him so he accuses Aumerle of conspiring against Gloucester and Henry Bolingbroke.
Of course, Aumerle denies the whole thing and challenges Bagot to a fight but Bolingbroke forbids them from fighting.
Then Fitzwater accuses Aumerle of lying so Aumerle threatens to fight it out with him. Henry Percy jumps in on Fitzwater’s behalf and Surrey steps in for Aumerle. Bolingbroke puts his foot down: no vigilante justice this time because Aumerle is going to stand trial.
And then the Duke of York arrives and announces that Richard is giving up his throne and names Henry Bolingbroke to be the new king.
Thing is, the Bishop of Carlisle isn’t too happy about this. Kings are supposed to be chosen by God. You don’t get to just swap them out when you feel like it. Even the king can’t make a new king. So after he’s finished giving his speech about it, they arrest him for treason. Naturally.
To make sure no one can challenge Henry’s claim, they bring Richard out so he can formally hand over the crown. You know, so everyone will know that everything is above-board. Just to be sure, they have Richard confess to a list of crimes which Bolingbroke and company has so thoughtfully prepared for him to read.
It seems Richard’s having second thoughts about the whole thing. He’s taking stock of his life, trying to figure out what’s next for this unpopular, deposed ruler. Customer service representative? Life coach? Long-haul truck driver?
Or probably just a royal corpse.
Richard tries to stall but time’s up. Once he’s made everything official, they cart him off to the Tower.
As soon as everyone leaves, Aumerle turns to the Bishop of Carlisle: “So, we got a plan to get rid of this jackass Bolingbroke?”
This should be good!
The Lord of St. Leonard, Mark Della Posta, returns to the pod and delivers sonnet 39 with all the cunning and style of Roberto “the Manimal” Luongo.
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