"O for a Muse of fire"
Hie thee to Washington, DC and delight in the Shakespeare Theatre's Richard II
and Henry V
(both playing until April 10). The two contrasting kings are played by the same actor, Michael Hayden
(No, not the former CIA Director!). The staging is in the more traditional mode (quite in contrast to the Theatre's As You Like It)
but with considerable ingenuity in the Harfleur siege, the execution of Bardolph, and the slaying of the Fench hostages (lamentably omitted in the Kenneth Branaugh movie
), among other scenes. Some of the directors' decisions are disputable (Agincourt battle--more arrows, please), but the actors do justice to the Bard's portrayal of this "mirror of all Christian kings."
The parallels of the English monarchy with Israel's kings in Samuel and Kings becomes abundantly clear: Just as Israel's fulfillment was to be found in the New Testament, so England's would be found in Abraham Lincoln.
5:43 PM / February 21, 2010