January 2009


Thanks to everyone who showed up to read Twelfth Night on a bitterly cold Sunday, the 21st of December. It is strange that it is about 58 degrees outdoors as I write this e-mail a week later in winter, but that is Michigan for you!

The reading had a lot of downright laugh aloud moments which made for a nice counterpoint to last month’s bleak Macbeth.

We will be meeting to read Richard II on January 18th at 1:00 pm at the Plymouth District Library. This time we will be in the Storytime room on the lower level of the library. I decided to stage readings of the Henriad tetralogy in sequence for our History Play slots this year as this will probably be best for keeping the characters straight and there are many of them! We will also be voting to read one of the following tragedies, “Antony and Cleopatra“, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Othello” at the meeting.

Resources for learning more about Richard II include reading Peter Saccio’s book “Shakespeare‘s English Kings”. Dr. Saccio also has a series of lectures on Shakespeare on DVD available through the teaching Company.

Arkangel has a Richard II audio CD with Rupert Graves as King Richard and Julian Glover as Bollingbroke. Derek Jacobi plays Richard II on the BBC production with John Gielgud lamenting the state of England as John of Gaunt. Gielgud must have loved Richard II as a huge portion of his one man show “The Ages of Man” is devoted to Richard II. I believe a recording of this is available for download through Audible.

I am also thinking about making the section where we read the summary of the play aloud for readers who are not familiar with the play a little more exciting, so watch for an announcement about this.

Thanks and hope you are having a good break!

The group will have its next meeting in the Storytime Room at the Plymouth District Library on Sunday, January 18, starting at 1:00 p.m. We have the room reserved till the library closes at 4:45 p.m. but we should be done before that.

The Storytime room is one level lower than the entrance, please ask any of the library staff for help locating the room.

As most of you probably know, Richard II is the first play in the “Henriad” tetralogy. Many people consider the four play Henriad sequence to be one of the most brilliant sustained dramatizations of a period in history comparable in scope to the Iliad, hence the moniker. Reading this sequence will introduce you to three monarchs, the immoral and immortal parts of Falstaff, provide you with the background for watching what many critics consider Orson Welles‘s masterpiece “Chimes at Midnight” and an understanding of the court that Chaucer enjoyed the patronage of among many other things.

To make things interesting and help us keep the characters straight, I have devised a game we can try playing after we read the summary of the play and before we begin the actual reading.

We will also be voting to read one of the following tragedies at the next reading:”Romeo and Juliet”, “Antony and Cleopatra” and “Othello”.

Finally here are the dates for the next few readings for your calendar:

February 15
March 22
April 26

Please contact me at fea_123@yahoo.com if you have any questions or leave a comment.