Thursday, February 07, 2013

Richard III

I cannot stop thinking about Richard III.  Ever since they found his skeleton buried under a parking lot somewhere in England he's been on my mind.

Let me be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about the Wars of the Roses.  As near as I could tell they were just a series of rumbles extended over thirty or so years.  England must have felt like the Bronx under that idiot mayor Lindsay.  Plenty of busting up and nothing much accomplished.

I know that the House of Lancaster won, of course. You know, those beauties who gave us Henry VIII.  It was all downhill from there as far as I was concerned.

(But don't ask me if Lancaster was the white rose or the red one.  I don't know.  I could never keep them straight.)

Like most people I got most of my knowledge of Richard III from Shakespeare's play.  I saw it performed by the Royal National Theatre, when they brought it to Brooklyn in 1992. I was so enthralled by Ian McKellan's performance that the spouse and I drove down to DC a few weeks later to see them do it again at the Kennedy Center.  I even bought their tee shirt:  "And thus I clothe my naked villainy."  On the back it said "Richard III- The USA Tour."  I loved that shirt.

And of course, I got curious about the accuracy of Shakespeare's Richard.  It's a great play, he's a great character, but if DIH has one rule it's this:  Never trust anyone on the Tudor payroll.  Like the Bard was.

When Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, the Yorks were finished and the Lancasters took over.  Henry VII was Henry VIII's father.  Shakespeare was writing for Henry's daughter Elizabeth.  So put yourself in Bill's position.  "Gotta write a play about Richard III.  His folks were the sworn enemies of my patron Queen Bess.  Gee- should I make him look good or bad?"

Anyway.  So far they know one thing about the Bard's Richard.  The Richard of "Richard III" was  hunchback with a withered arm.  The skeleton they discovered under that parking lot definitely had a curved spine.  But no withered arm- no evidence of one.

A-HA!  Let the speculation begin!

I dont' know about you but I'm going to stay tuned.





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