SAD STORIES OF THE DEATH OF KINGS

RICHARD II & EDWARD II

ST. BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT/VENTNOR EXCHANGE FESTIVAL, 2015

Scena Mundi’s "Sad Stories of the Death of Kings: Richard II & Edward II" enjoyed fantastic press and audience reviews while playing in London’s oldest church, St Bartholomew the Great, in May-July 2015. 

 Similar in theme if not in style, the two plays are so full of echoes that there can be no doubt Shakespeare was inspired by Marlowe’s Edward II. Written within a few months of each other, both dramatise the pursuit of and fall from power of weak monarchs. Presenting them side by side is therefore a choice motivated by the plays themselves.

RICHARD II

The Tragedy of  King  Richard  II  is  one  of  Shakespeare’s  linguistically   and poetically   richest plays. Richard, the “mockery king of snow”, is a man of refined intellect, subtle and educated, who manipulates his entourage with hisuse of language. Ambitious, arrogant and proud, Richard thinks he is secure in his position as God’s chosen king. When challenged by his cousin Bolingbroke over the death of their uncle, Richard banishes him and precipitates his own downfall. The formidable confrontation that follows, in which man-of-words Richard is set upon by man‐of‐action Bolingbroke, leads to Richard’s capitulation and his surrendering of the crown. The genuine suffering which oppresses him after his abdication is that of a man whose sense of purpose has gone. Richard’s sorrow and philosophical questioning leads him to distinguish between the King and the man – the public figure and the privateindividual.

Shakespeare’s Richard is a multi‐facetted character whose final tragedy cannot fail to move audiences.

A steadfastly historical production... which champions the poetry at the piece’s heart
— The Stage
Even the Globe, which I love, pales into insignificance in the face of this magnificent example of a 12th Century religious building... Director Cecilia Dorland uses the space perfectly
— London Theatre 1
Magnificent, awe-inspiring surroundings compliment a fine cast.
— Everything Theatre
Scena Mundi, the resident company at St Bartholomew the Great church, have managed to create a truly stunning, graceful and precise production. This is an absolute must-see... for the genuinely astounding performance from the whole company. This is traditional Shakespeare exactly as it should be done, with no gimmicks or distractions, just sincerity and grace... Cecilia Dorland’s production is quite exquisite
— The Theatre Tourist

COMPANY

Pip Brignall (KING RICHARD THE SECOND), Graham Pountney (JOHN OF GAUNT, Duke of Lancaster, Uncle to the KingBISHOP OF CARLISLE & A GARDENER in the Duke of York’s palace), Edmund Sage-GreenBen HigginsMartin Prest (HENRY, surnamed BOLINGBROKE, Duke of Hereford, Son to John of Gaunt, afterwards King Henry IV), Rupert Bates (EDMUND OF LANGLEY, Duke of York, Uncle to the King & LORD MARSHAL), Eluned Hawkins (DUCHESS OF YORK & DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER), Edward Fisher (DUKE OF AUMERLE, Son to the Duke of York GREEN, Follower of King Richard), Anna Buckland (ISABELLA, queen to King Richard), Patrick Oldham (THOMAS MOWBRAY, Duke of NorfolkSIR PIERCE OF EXTON EARL OF NORTHUMBERLAND), Nadia Sangari (LADY attending on the Queen)

Cecilia Dorland (Director), Penny Rischmiller (Design & Costumes), Nathalie Gunzlé (Lighting DesignStage Management), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Original Music)

EDWARD II

Marlowe’s Edward II is a violent tragedy in which power, lust and ambition combine. Edward is a weak king whose advancement of his favourite, Piers Gaveston, garners both the hatred of his Queen, Isabelle, and of his barons, led by the ruthless Mortimer. Finally captured and put to the most horrible of deaths, Edward is succeeded by his son, Edward III, whose first action as King is to have the traitor Mortimer put to death.

A dark play in which no character is given redeeming features, Marlowe’sEdward II takes us to the claustrophobic world of a merciless court where private ambition and revenge are more important than political vision. Edward II is a bloody tale of selfish desire and misguided judgement. The King’s lack of political acumen and his self‐indulgence leads to a chaos which only a strong leader will be able to end. Far from gaining a crown, the rebellious barons find death at the hands of the legitimate heir – the divine right of Kings remains unchallenged.

Scena Mundi’s company of actors are exquisite... A powerhouse of a production
— The Theatre Tourist
[An] eye-catching performance... the dynamic is just right
— Everything Theatre
A theatre visit like no other...it was a remarkable use of a church. The whole cast were fantastic.
— London Theatre 1
Scena Mundi are without doubt an asset to British theatre. Artistic Director Cecilia Dorland has created with Edward II an unique experience, fusing the 14th century king together with a new romantic excess and glamour, that locks in all the conspiring of the king’s court impeccably. The cast are a powerhouse, together they work in harmony, with great understanding and acknowledgment of the historic building they are performing within. Edward II will certainly linger in your conscience long after leaving St Bartholomew the Great.
— Frantastic View

company

Edward Fisher (KING EDWARD THE SECOND), Ava Amande (ISABELLA OF FRANCE, Queen to King Edward), Martin Prest (LORD ROGER MORTIMER), Anna Buckland (EDMUND, EARL OF KENT, Brother to the King), Graham Pountney (DUKE OF LANCASTER), Josh Pugh (PRINCE EDWARD, afterwards KING EDWARD IIILORD LEICESTER A POOR MAN), David J. Keogh (BISHOP OF WINCHESTER LORD ARUNDELL), Pip Brignall (LORD PIERS GAVESTON, Favourite to King Edward & Executioner), Damian Regan (LORD SPENCER, Favourite to King Edward BISHOP OF COVENTRY), Patrick Oldham (EARL OF WARWICK AN ABBOT), Nadia Sangari (A MOWER, A MESSENGER and SOLDIER)

Cecilia Dorland & Eluned Hawkins (Director), Penny Rischmiller (Company Stage Management, Design & Costumes), Nathalie Gunzlé (Technical Stage Management & Lighting Design), Darren Royston (Movement & Choreography), Jean-Philippe Martinez (Original Music), Chris Wells (Programme)