The Joyous Living: 5 Reasons to See Kingsmen Shakespeare's RICHARD II

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Kingsmen Shakespeare CompanyΒ is half way through its run of RICHARD II after a successful and refreshing production of MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR featuring many of the same talented cast members including Hannah Tamminen who portrays antagonist Bolingbroke as a woman!

So why should you rush out to see one of the remaining performances ofΒ RICHARD II, an early Shakespearean favorite? Here are just 5 exciting scenes that you have to see come to life in person:

#1. “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

Thomas Ashworth (Gaunt) and Brett Elliott (Richard II) share one of the best well known scenes from early in the play. Gaunt (an uncle to Richard II) begs Richard to not be too influenced by his advisors lest England suffer for it. Unfortunately Richard shows his ugly side in this scene and mocks his dying uncle and will not take the man’s advise but rather usurps the lands legally belonging to his cousin Bolingbroke (who’s been exiled) to fill the crown’s coffers.

#2.”Have I not reason to look pale and dead?”

Upon his return to England, Richard II learns that Bolingbroke has illegally returned and the Welsh have aligned with his cousin and enemy. In this scene, Brett Elliott gets some of the juiciest lines to sink his teeth into as Richard II goes from despair to hope to despair again in what might be seen as bipolar behavior.

In this scene, your sympathies change so swiftly after being disgusted with his actions in the previous scene with John of Gaunt. Brett Elliott deserves an award for this scene alone.


#3. “A twofold marriage, ‘twixt my crown and me, And then betwixt me and my married wife.”

Lauren Zbylski who was prominently featured in Merry Wives of Windsor had few scenes to show off her talent as The Queen in Richard II but made the most of her every opportunity. The scene she shared with Brett Elliott as he is sent to Pomfret Castle and she to France without a husband was one of the most bittersweet moments of the show after the intermission.

Your sympathies continue to grow for Elliott’s King Richard II and equally so for his wife who is a victim entirely.


#4. “Speak with me, pity me, open the door.”

In her comedic cameo as Duchess of York, Jillian Doyle who previously had the audience in stitches during Merry Wives of Windsor was an even greater delight giving the audience a chance to withdraw from the harsh realities of the bitter second act. Jillian Doyle together with Ted Barton as the Duke of York and Kenny Toll as their son Aumerle for whose life she pleads were a hilarious trio from start to finish of their two scenes together.


#5. “Spurr’d, gall’d and tired by jouncing Bolingbroke.”

In my favorite directorial decision by Michael J. Arndt, the Groom is now played by Hannah Tamminen‘s Bolingbroke and here with so few lines is where she truly shines. The audience has by this time already been able to empathize with the deposed king and now we see Tamminen’s Bolingbroke exhibit an unease of conscience too before the climatic finale.

Richard II Cast of Characters

So if you are still debating whether you should see Kingsmen Shakespeare Company‘s RICHARD II, I entreat you no I implore you that it would be a loss if you did not.

Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe,
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow:

The Joyous Living Kingsmen Shakespeare RICHARD II

Location (Free Parking):

California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Directions from 101-South

Exit Lynn Road
Left on Lynn Road
Continue onto Olsen Road
Right on MountClef Blvd.
Parking is in the first lot on the right.

Directions from 101-North

Take Exit 16 for CA-23 North
Exit Sunset Hills Blvd.
Left on Sunset Hills Blvd
Left on Olsen Road
Left on MountClef Blvd.
Parking is in the first lot on the right.

Dates:

Richard IIΒ  7/19-21, 7/26-28, 8/2-4

All performances start at 8pm

Disclaimer:

My tickets were comped for review purposes but all opinions are my own.