BB: Richard II, Act IV

Artwork - Daniel J. Rowe
Artwork – Daniel J. Rowe

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

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!

Listen to or download the podcast, or better yet subscribe on iTunes.

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.

Sounds familiar?

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.

And hey! Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it. Volume II is OUT NOW.brassknucklestshirt1.png

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

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BB: Romeo and Juliet, Act IV

Artwork - Leigh Macrae
Artwork – Leigh Macrae

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

Welcome back Brawlers to Romeo and Juliet. This week, we take on act IV of R&J.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Well, despite the fact that we’ve already established that postponing the wedding of Juliet and Paris from Wednesday to Thursday was totally reasonable, by the start of act IV, Friar Lawrence just isn’t on board with that. Could he be right? Is that really too soon? Obviously, Friar Lawrence is really only worried about his hide: he can’t marry one girl to two guys. Well, not in this church at least.

On the other hand, maybe Paris is right: Tybalt was just a cousin. Pretty sure Emily Post’s wedding etiquette doesn’t even have an entry for the appropriate wait time in the event of a violent and non-accidental death of a (sort of) loved one. Just stick the mourning Juliet in a social event and we’ll peer pressure those tears right out of her.

Once Paris is shooed away, Juliet pulls a Romeo and breaks down but Friar Lawrence tell her that there’s still a slim chance for her and Romeo to be together forever. Small catch: she’ll have to kill herself.

Say what? That doesn’t seem very Christian!

Actually, she’ll have to take drink one of Friar Lawrence’s roofies sleeping potions which will make her seem dead for 48 hours. That will make her family bury her in the family crypt. Romeo will then swoop in, rescue her before she suffocates, and steal her away to Mantua while Juliet faking her death and Romeo killing Tybalt blows over. Shouldn’t take more than 2-3 weeks tops, right?

Looks like everything is good to go. Friar Lawrence just needs to let Romeo know about that plan and everything will turn out perfectly.

In scene 2, Lord Capulet is busy planning the wedding when Juliet walks in and seems suddenly and mysteriously zen about the whole marrying Paris thing. She just wants to make daddy happy. Nothing suspicious about any of this at all.

Juliet retires and asks the nurse to help her pick out a suitable wedding outfit. Once she’s picked out her outfit, she dismisses her nurse and lies down on the bed with Friar Lawrence’s elixir. Can she really trust that this potion will work properly? Will she ever wake up? Is this really going to work? Only one way to find out: down the hatch!

The following afternoon, preparations for the wedding are in full swing, and Paris is just about to show up for his big day! Time for Juliet to wake up!

Except she doesn’t.

The Nurse finds her lying dead in her bed in scene 5. Everybody files into the room: mom, dad, Paris and of course Friar Lawrence. The friar tries to calm everyone down. Creepy Paris still thinks this is about him somehow and asks to lie down next to her. Lord Capulet orders the food to be served as a funeral feast, the musicians are asked to play some sad music. They agree once they’re sure they’ll still get paid, and be allowed to stick around for the buffet.

I wonder if Friar Lawrence has any idea whether his potion worked or not. I also wonder how his archbishop would feel about all of this. And where the hell is Romeo and what has he been doing in the past few days? He wasn’t in this act at all!

Guess you’ll have to wait for act 5 to see if he got our text message /email/ Facebook invite / carrier pigeon / monk-o-gram.

Please Welcome our newest sonneteer to the brawl, the legendary lord of St. Leonard, Mark Della Posta reading sonnet 39.

Mark should not be confused, however, with the other legendary lord of St-Leonard, Roberto “The Manimal” Luongo.

The Manimal
The Manimal

And hey! Buy ‘Zounds! You’ll never regret or forget it.

Stay in Touch Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Or leave us a comment right here!

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