Making King John a Play Worth Watching
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1440 Thursday, 1 September 2005
From: Chris Whatmore <
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.
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