chapter  3
48 Pages

AN APPRENTICESHIP WITH SHAKESPEARE

Six plays by Shakespeare: four historical tragedies (Richard II, the two parts of Henry IV, Henry V) and two comedies (Twelfth Night, Love’s Labour’s Lost).4 We’re embarking on this cycle rather in the way that one embarks on an apprenticeship with a master craftsman, hoping to learn how to perform the world in a theatre. We are consulting Shakespeare now as preparation for us to be able to tell a contemporary story in a future production, for Shakespeare is an expert who knows the tools that are most apt and fitting for narratives of the passions and destinies of human beings. The historical tragedies tell us ‘the sad stories of the death of kings, how some have been deposed, others killed in battle, others haunted by the spectres of those they had deposed’ (Richard II), and so many other things…Richard II is the first chapter in this chronicle of a tribe of characters who struggle to construct the world, as they cling to their savage, tormented island, which is still almost deserted (at the end of the 14th century, the Britain of Richard II had about three million inhabitants).