A Blog by Jahmeel Powers: Apprentice at Performance Network
Are there times when you’re reading something, and you aren’t really sure what you just read? You read a page, then go back, read the page again, and you’re still lost? Not really sure what to do, you go and try to look up the synopsis online? Well, don’t worry… you’re not alone.
What about going to see a play or performance? Particularly in a Shakespeare Play, an audience member tends to get caught up in the lovely imagery and beautiful poetry of Shakespeare’s words, and they lose track of what’s ACTUALLY going on in the play.
So, if you have some anxiety about understanding our upcoming Shakespeare play,Richard III, fear not! Because I’m going to help you out and point out 20 key facts and figures that happen in the story, and by the end, you’ll be telling all your friends about the play!
(WARNING!!! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!)
1. Richard begins the play with a scornful, jealous, rage-filled speech which includes his distaste for his older brother, King Edward. In this speech, we discover that Richard plans to become king by any means necessary.
2.There is a civil war between two families: The Yorks and the Lancasters. King Edward (of York) brings peace to England by winning the war.
3. Richard begins his plot to take the throne by manipulating Lady Anne into marrying him.
4.Richard has his own older brother Clarence, executed.
5. Richard shifts the guilt onto his already ill brother, King Edward, in order to speed up his illness, which eventually leads to his death.
(Death toll: 2)
6. Richard is promoted to lord protector of England, which he holds until King Edward’s children are old enough to rule. Buckingham establishes a strong partnership with Richard.
7. Richard goes on a killing spree!He has Queen Elizabeth’s Kinsman (Rivers, Gray, and Sir Thomas Vaughn) arrested and executed.
(Death Toll: 5)
8.Richard has Lord Hastings beheaded, after he discovers that Hastings will remain forever loyal to the late King Edward.
(Death toll: 6)
9. With help of Lord Buckingham, Richard starts a campaign amongst the commoners to have himself crowned as king. His plan backfires, when the commoners do not rejoice at the idea of Richard as king.
10.With Queen Elizabeth and her young princes unprotected, Richard imprisons both of them in the London Tower, which he later sends two murderers and their leader, Tyrell, to kill them.
(Death toll: 7)
11. Because of Richard’s brutal actions, the country begins to fear and loathe him, including his own noblemen, even Buckingham.
12. A rumor begins to spread about the coming of a challenger to the throne, the Earl of Richmond (a descendant of Lancaster). Many begin to flock to France to join his forces.
13.Desperate to regain control of his kingdom, Richard has his wife (Queen Anne) executed, so that he can marry young Elizabeth, daughter of Queen Elizabeth, and his own niece.
(Death toll: 8)
14. Queen Elizabeth manages to stall Richard from marrying young Elizabeth. When Richard leaves, the Queen makes a promise to young Elizabeth that she will be married off to the coming savior, the Earl of Richmond.
15. Buckingham joins forces with the Earl of Richmond, and gathers his own army. He is then captured by Richard and taken to prison to be executed.
16.Buckingham is taken to be executed, where he had a long lament about betraying King Edward, after vowing to always be by his side.
(Death Toll: 9)
17. Richmond and his troops finally arrive in England. The night before the battle, both Richard and Richmond have prophetic dreams.
18. Richard has a nightmare in which the ghosts of all he’s killed return to curse him, revealing that he will die the next day.
19. Richmond has a dream of slaying his enemy! The next morning, there is a huge battle, in which Richard is killed by the Earl of Richmond.
(Death toll: 10)
20. Richmond is then crowned King Henry VII. Richmond then marries young Elizabeth, in order to bring peace between the warring families of York and Lancaster.
And…. That’s It! You now have the knowledge you need in order to figure out what goes on in the play and still get lost in the beautiful, colorful, unique language of William Shakespeare.
Richard III runs from April 24- June 1st. Tickets can be bought either on our website by clicking here or by phone (734)-663-0681.