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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: Richard II Stage History
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0615  Friday, 3 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Richard Dutton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 12:56:00 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[2]     From:   Lisa Hopkins <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 13:24:00 +0100
        Subj:   Richard II

[3]     From:   Louis Swilley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 07:47:23 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[4]     From:   Michael Mullin <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 22:58:04 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[5]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 09:32:19 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[6]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 10:23:06 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[7]     From:   Bill Gelber <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 18:29:37 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[8]     From:   John Dwyer <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 22:03:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614 Richard II Stage History Question

[9]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Friday, 03 Jul 1998 13:07:54 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

[10]    From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:   Friday, 3 Jul 1998 00:16:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Dutton <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 12:56:00 +0100
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

Has Bradley Berens heard a garbled account of the RSC production of RII
in the early 1970s, where Richard Pasco and Ian Richardson alternated
the roles of Richard and Bolingbroke throughout the run (but did not
actually exchange roles WITHIN the performance)? I remember it very
vividly, having seen it six times (with four Pasco Richards, and two
Richardsons).

Incidentally, people may like to know that the Dukes Playhouse in
Lancaster will be doing a promenade version of 'Richard II' next summer,
1999 being the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of Gaunt etc..

Richard Dutton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lisa Hopkins <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 13:24:00 +0100
Subject:        Richard II

I wonder if Bradley Berens is referring to the famous production in
which Richard Pasco and Ian Richardson alternated the roles of Richard
and Bolingbroke (though each taking a whole performance rather than
swapping halfway through).  There is information about this in Margaret
Shewring's book on the play in the Manchester University Press
Shakespeare in Performance series.

Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis Swilley <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jul 1998 07:47:23 -0500
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

This may be what you are looking for: Several years ago, National
Theatre presented Richard II with Richard Pascoe and Ian Richardson.  On
alternate evenings, the actors switched the roles of Richard and
Bolingbroke - but never during the same performance.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Mullin <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 22:58:04 +1000
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

You may be thinking of the Ian Richardson/Richard Pascoe at the RSC in
1975 and thereafter.

Actually, they came onstage, out of costume, and flipped a coin, to
determine who played what role.

But of course they didn't switch in the middle of the play.

It was quite popular.

Terry Hands directed.

I was an observer with the Company.

Michael Mullin.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 09:32:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

Bradley Berens seems to be referring to John Barton's 1973 *Richard II*
with Ian Richardson and Richard Pasco as Bolingbroke and R2.  I recently
profited from Robert Smallwood's discussion of this production in his
chapter on "Director's Shakespeare" in *Shakespeare: An Illustrated
Stage History*.  Ed. Jonathan Bate and Russell Jackson.  Oxford UP,
1996.  I would also have a look at Margaret Shewring's stage history of
*Richard II* in the Shakespeare in Performance Series (1993).

                                Michael Friedman
                                University of Scranton

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 10:23:06 -0700
Subject: Richard II Stage History Question -Reply
Comment:        SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question -Reply

> I remember hearing someone talk about a production of
>RICHARD II in which the actors playing King Richard and Bolingbroke
>switched roles midway through the play-presumably in the crown
>tug-of-war scene, although I'm only guessing.

>Does anyone have any information about this production?  Where?  >When?

RSC.  1970s.  Excellent write up of it in Stanley Wells ROYAL
SHAKESPEARE.

Mike Jensen

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Gelber <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 18:29:37 -0300
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

John Barton's production at the R.S.C. cast Ian Richardson and Richard
Pasco alternating the roles of Richard and Bolingbroke. This was
accomplished near the beginning of the play.

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Dwyer <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jul 1998 22:03:34 -0400
Subject: 9.0614 Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614 Richard II Stage History Question

I think I saw this on the BBC production that was part of the "complete
Shakespeare" edition.

John D.

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Friday, 03 Jul 1998 13:07:54 +1000
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

About 25 years ago there was an RSC production at Stratford (and then
London) in which two actors, Ian Richardson and Richard Pascoe, switched
the roles in alternate performances (it was fascinating to see both).
It's not what you're looking for, of course, but (if nothing else turns
up) it may be what your interlocutor was (mis)remembering or ambiguously
reporting.

[10]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Friday, 3 Jul 1998 00:16:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0614  Richard II Stage History Question

To Bradley Berens:

Although I don't know of a production of *R2* in which the actors
playing Richard and Bolingbroke switched roles midway through the play,
Richard Pasco and Ian Richardson alternated the roles in different
performances in the 1973/74 RSC production directed by John Barton.
Margaret Shewring describes the theatrical moment to which you may be
referring in *Shakespeare in Performance*: R2 (Manchester, 1996) as
follows:

        The emphasis on role-play was there from the opening moment in
        which an actor, dressed as Shakespeare, entered holding a large
        book--presumably the play-book or script.  As Ian Richardson and
        Richard Pasco faced each other, standing in front of a mannequin
        which was clad in the royal robes (the king in waiting), . . .
        Shakespeare handed the book to one of the principals--it is he
        who would play the King in the ensuing performance.  At first
        this was conceived by Barton as a random process: neither
        performer would know which role he was to play until the moment
        the dumb-show determined it.

This unconventional theatrical practice proved to be too unpredictable
for the demands of the box office, however, and casting eventually was
made clear in publicity and programs.  (A review of Shewring's book is
forthcoming in *SQ*.)

Other accounts of the production include the following:

        Hakola, Liisa.  *In One Person Many People: The Image of the
                King in Three RSC Productions of WS's* R2.  Helsinki,
                1988.
        Stredder, James.  "John Barton's Production of *R2* at
                Stratford-upon-Avon, 1973."  *Deutsche Shakespeare-
                Gesellschaft West Jarbuch*.  Heidelberg, 1976.
        Wells, Stanley.  *Royal Shakespeare: Four Major Productions
                at Stratford-upon-Avon*.  Manchester, 1977.

Hope this information proves to be of help.

Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 

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