Culpeper Times • November 8-14, 2018
➤ Curtain Calls, from Page 24 throne, Arthur. It is a treat to see the fabulous Holly Twyford in this role, as well as Kate Eastwood Norris slicked down as Philip Faulconbridge, a.k.a. “The Bastard” of Richard the Lionheart. A very different note is played by Megan Graves as the delicate and dangerously placed young Arthur. Howard Overshown plays three roles, but is most notable as Philip, King of France. Every move, every lift of the eyebrow is political. We may wonder that one country would be so embroiled in and opinionated about another country’s succession of monarchs, but that would be to forget that William of Normandy once sailed from France to claim the throne of England. And then there’s the Pope. He, of course, thinks his word is God’s word and therefore the last word, and sends a Legate, Cardinal Pandulph, (Sasha Olinick) to threaten everyone with excommunication if they don’t toe Rome’s line. And so they do. Briefly. Act II moves with more clarity and purpose even as John himself accelerates in his downward spiral. Occasionally France and England stop fighting long enough to join forces, as in their battle at the gates of Anger in Anjou. War on the modestly sized Folger stage takes place somewhere
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What: Shakespeare’s “King John” Where: Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C. Call: (202) 544-7077 or visit folger.edu Playing through Dec. 2 beyond the audience as the witnesses alternately shine tiny flashlights in their own faces and make rapid commentary, sometimes with lines from other plays. Once was mildly effective, but this happened twice. The residual leitmotif of “King John” is endless deception and power play, no more devastating than when Hubert (Elan Zafir) is urged to murder young Arthur. In a moving confrontation, Hubert decides to let the boy live and report to the king that he is dead. When Arthur’s dead body (presumably an accident) is discovered and the king blamed, it is Hubert’s fault for misinterpreting the king. That the death of the king only brings another king to the throne does nothing to relieve the futile sense that games of thrones are never won. As minor as “King John” is in the opus of Shakespeare’s history plays, the Folgers’ production is likely as good as it will get, and therefore recommended. Maggie Lawrence is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. She is a retired English and drama teacher.
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