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|Friday, 22 April 2005 06:12|
Charles Kean as King John, Ellen Kean as Constance. Note the careful historical costuming. U.C.B. Shakespeare Program.
STAGING KING JOHN
This rather plodding play defies modern expectations based on popular history, since Magna Carta is not even mentioned and, if anything, the shifty King John gains more credit than usual for at least defying papal and other foreign attempts at inteference in English affairs. The charmingly pathetic Prince Arthur dies accidentally, though ironically still provoking a rebellion which is ultimately censured by the more or less choric figure of the Bastard Faulconbridge (Gallery2.2.16). He has much of the verve and skepticism of Edmund in King Lear, but less villainy. His humorous comments on others' egotoistical actions redeem the potential tedium of much of the diplomatic oratory, not to mention the interminable complaints of the widowed Constance in vainly seeking the succession rights of her son Arthur, due by John's elder brother, Geoffrey. The outcome of this rather inconclusive script in terms of staging is that most productions ornament the text with vivid visual effects (Galleries 3.2.5 and 6.2.31).
Ball, Robert Hamilton, "Tree's King John Film: An Addendum." Shakespeare Quarterly 24 (1973): 455-59.
Beaurline, L. A., ed., King John, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Braunmuller, A. R.,ed., King John, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Bresloff, Al, King John (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, 2004) at: http://www.salsachicago.com/AlKingJohn.htm
Colley, Scott. "BBC TV King John", Shakespeare on Film Newsletter 10.1 (Dec. 1985): 5.
Curren-Aquino, Deborah T., editor. King John : New Perspectives. Newark: University of Delaware Press; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1989.
Genzinger, Neil, et al,. "Seasons Past: King John" (critical reviews: Shakespeare Theatre, New Jersey) New York Times, 3 August 2003 at:http://www.njshakespeare.org/past/2003/kingjohn_critical.html
Grayling, A. C., "King John: the RSC at the Barbican", 2002. in TLS 100 at onlinereviewlondon.com King John
Greman, Eamon, [review of D.T.Curren-Aquino, "King John": New Perspectives, above] Shakespeare Quarterly, 42.1 (Spring, 19910, 110-13.
Gutman, Les, King John (Theatre for a New Audience, New York, 2000) at:http://curtainupcom.siteprotect.net/kingjohn.html
Maillet, Greg, King John (Stratford Festival of Canada), Shakespeare Bulletin, 23.1 (Spring, 2005) 157-8.
McKernan, Luke. "Beerbohm Tree's King John Rediscovered: The First Shakespeare Film, September 1899", Shakespeare Bulletin 11, no. 1 (1993): 35-36.
King John: Henry Betty as Faulconbridge.
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