For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
— Richard II, Act III Sc 2
King Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, accuses Thomas Mowbray of plotting the death of Richard's uncle Gloucester. Richard exiles Bolingbroke, setting in motion a chain of events that throws a nation, and his family, into turmoil. As Bolingbroke returns to claim the throne for himself and recover his country, a struggle for power and loyalty begins.
Shakespeare's beautifully-written play offers a timely exploration of the fall and rise of power.
Accompanied by stunning live music, and performing in the magical surroundings of St Dogmaels Abbey, The Abbey Shakespeare Players were thrilled to present Richard II for the very first time in our thirty-year history.
Richard II evokes an opulent sound-world, by turns heraldic, liturgical, and vernacular. For deposed, captive Richard near the play's end, music and how we hear it are a metaphor for all that has gone wrong:
Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To check time broke in a disorder'd string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
— Richard II, Act V, Sc 5
Richard Morris's original score combined instrumental and vocal music of the time with contemporary sounds in ways which support and illuminate Shakespeare's exploration of power, conspiracy and human frailty.
|Richard II, King of England||Matthew Bellwood|
|Queen, Richard's wife||Kathryn Oliver|
|John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Richard's uncle||Richard Carwardine|
|Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, Gaunt's son||Joe Kao|
|Duke of York, Richard's uncle||Richard Mitchley|
|Duchess of York||Georgina Ferry|
|Duke of Aumerle, York's son||Oscar Stafford|
|Duchess of Gloucester, widow of Duke of Gloucester||Linda Kirk|
|Earl of Northumberland||Ian Wood|
|Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk||John Holtorp|
|Duke of Surrey||Phil Gerken|
|Bishop of Carlisle||Geoffrey Summers|
|Abbot of Westminster||Linda Kirk|
|Welsh Captain||Richard Carwardine|
|Lord Ross||Henry Morris|
|Lord Willoughby||Simon Beattie|
|Lord Fitzwater||Will Long|
|Heralds||Ann Christys, Ann Shepherd|
|Prince Hal, Bolingbroke's son||Gabriel Pearcey|
|Lady in Waiting, to the Queen||Jane Morris|
|Servant, to the Duke of York||Hermione Miltiadou|
|Groom, of Richard's stable||Felix Power|
|Philippa, Bolingbroke's daughter||Cosima Pearcey|
|Assistant Directors||Will Long, Henry Morris|
|Lighting Designer & Technical Director||David Long|
|Musical Associate||Henry Ward|
|Technical Assistants||Peter Oliver, Bernard Smith, Jerry Ross|
|Wardrobe Assistants||Ann Shepherd, Penny Miltiadou, Jilly Price|
|Publicity Design||Daniel Clatworthy|
|Front of House||Jane Hall, Sue Jones, Janet Paynter|
|Set||Robert Fitzmartin & Henry VIII|
|Clarinets||Katy Lawrence, Carwyn Thomas|
|Trumpets||Ben Richards, Dan Webster|
|Percussion||Ann Christys, Oliver Llewellyn-Smith, Dan Webster|
|Singers||Ann Christys, John Holtorp, Ed Long, Jane Morris, Ann Shepherd, Tony Shepherd, Judy Williamson, Emily Williamson|