THEA TER REVIEWS King John. By William Shakespeare. Directed by Aaron Posner. Folger Shakespeare Theater. October 23–December 2018. This production of King John (dir. by Aaron Posner) opens on a nearly bare stage centered by a wooden throne. The boards composing the throne are sharpened at the top to points that evoke, at once, the battlements of a castle, the walls of a city, and a medieval war-machine. Above the throne an oversized wrought iron crown, also severe and martial in appearance, is suspended from the ceiling and hangs slightly ajar. These details of the stage setting mesh well with the play’s theme of the precarities of dynastic succession in a war-obsessed medieval Europe. The sparseness and lack of ornament suggest an atmosphere in which the constant alarms of war supplant softer concerns, and the ambiguously nineteenth-century or Edwardian costuming suggests that the world of the play extends far beyond the medieval past. As this is a play of Shakespeare’s that is now seldom performed, it is very welcome that at the start of this performance, the actors explain their roles and a brief run-down of historical context starting with the yellow flower associated with the Plantagenet name (and
Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700 – University of Tennessee
Published: Jul 19, 2019
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