Author(s): William Shakespeare
Company: Guildford Shakespeare Company
Running time: 2h 30min approx
“This blessed plot, this realm, this England.”
A narcissistic ruler. An unelected leader. A country at breaking point.
Richard rules by Divine Right, answerable to no-one except God. Advised by sycophants and spin doctors, his entitled position grants him licence to ride roughshod over established laws.
Recently exiled by Richard, Henry Bolingbroke returns with a mandate to put things right; but as an unelected leader, Henry’s family grievance quickly becomes a personal ambition for national salvation.
Shakespeare’s Richard II is a blistering examination of what happens when leaders’ self-inflated egos dictate a nation’s future. Controversial even in its first performances, its seditious potential was seized upon by the Earl of Essex who ordered a performance of it to fuel his attempted coup of 1601.
Shocking in its modernity and unflinching in its portrayal of how those in power are out of touch with the people they serve, Richard II has never been more urgent.