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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Making King John a Play Worth Watching
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1406  Friday, 26 August 2005

From: 		M Yawney <
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Date: 		Thursday, 25 Aug 2005 14:45:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.1392 Making King John a Play Worth Watching
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1392 Making King John a Play Worth Watching

Jack Heller wrote:

 >"I don't quite understand people's reluctance about
 >King John. The production about five years ago at the
 >Alabama Festival could be added to those attesting to
 >its stage merits."

I think King John is a wonderful play and I cannot help wonder if its 
unpopularity is due to its multi-faceted nature. It challenges its 
audiences to interpret then reinterpret then reinterpret again the 
characters but keeps the grounds for judgment unstable. As we see in 
another thread, many are more comfortable with the idea of Shakespeare 
sending us one clear message per play.

However, in King John nothing is clear and no motive is unmixed. I have 
seen one production in which Constance was a cold villain, and another 
in which she is a victim. Both interpretations were faithful to the play 
as written, but both were reductive and flattened out the richness of 
this work in which public and personal motivations conflict and in which 
characters ricochet between the noble and the craven.

I am waiting for a production that captures the unique nature of this work.

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