2005

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1440  Thursday, 1 September 2005

From: 		Chris Whatmore <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Wednesday, 31 Aug 2005 12:17:08 +0100
Subject: 	Making King John a Play Worth Watching

Scot Zarela writes: 'perhaps the "unpopularity" of "King John" is a very 
recent  phenomenon, or an American one only.'

A monument to the play's erstwhile popularity, at least in the UK, can 
of course still be seen on the western wall of the original 1879 
Memorial Theatre building (now the Swan Theatre) at Stratford-upon- 
Avon, where three decorative terracotta panels representing Comedy, 
History and Tragedy show, respectively, the wooing scene from As You 
Like It, Hubert and Prince Arthur from King John and the graveside scene 
from Hamlet. According to Marian J Pringle's The Theatres of 
Stratford-upon-Avon 1875-1992, the King John panel was presented by the 
theatre's architect W F Unsworth himself, which suggests that the play 
was a particularly powerful expression of what Shakespeare meant to 
those involved in the Memorial project.

cw

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