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Act I scene i: King John [Nicholas Stannard] rules England with the careful assistance of his mother, the shrewd and powerful Eleanor of Aquitaine [Libby Hughes]. He tells the ambassador from France to expect an invasion of English forces to put down the ambitious of the pretender Arthur and his over-reaching mother, Constance: "Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France,/For ere thou cans't report, I will be there;/The thunder of my cannon shall be heard./So hence. Be thou the trumpet of our wrath /And sullen presage of your own decay." Eleanor: "How now my son? Have I not ever said/How that ambitious Constance would not cease/Till she had kindled France and all the world/Upon the right and party of her son?"

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act I scene i: Two young men come to the court from the country, Philip [Jim Jack] and Robert Faulconbridge [Jonathan R. Thornsberry], seeking a judgment from the King. Robert, though younger, claims his father's estate, claiming that Philip is a bastard, the son of King John's elder brother, Richard the Lionhearted. Philip: "Whe're I be as true begot or no,/That still I lay upon my mother's head./But that I am as well begot, my liege--/Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me--/Compare our faces and be judge yourself./If old Sir Robert did beget us both/And were our father, and his son like him,/O old Sir Robert, father, on my knee/I give heaven thanks I was not like to thee." (Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act I scene i: Eleanor asks Philip if he'd rather go back to the country, or, as the reputed son of Richard the Lionhearted, become part of the court and go with them to fight in France. He eagerly opts for the latter and is knighted by King John: "Kneel thou down Philip, but rise more great./Arise Sir Richard and Plantagenet." But the bold young man is popularly referred to as The Bastard.

The Bastard [Jim Jack]; King John [Nicholas Stannard]

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act I scene i: After the court withdraws, the Bastard [Jim Jack] delightedly plans his transformation into a man-of-the-world, how he'll dress and speak, and what he'll learn and do: "not alone in habit and device,/Exterior form, outward accoutrement,/But from the inward motion to deliver/Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth,/Which, though I will not practice to deceive,/Yet to avoid deceit I mean to learn,/For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising."

(Photo by Alex Goz)

Act I scene i: Lady Faulconbridge [Donna Stearns] has hurried to London in hopes of forestalling a scandal: "Where is that slave your brother? Where is he/That holds in chase my honor up and down?" The Bastard [Jim Jack] comforts her with the surprising news that he has been made a knight and is off to France.

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act II scene i: In France, outside the fortified city of Angers claimed by both England and France, King Philip of France [Marc Silberschatz] declares his support for young Arthur [Miriam Lipner], watched by Arthur's anxious mother, Lady Constance [Vanessa Elder]. "We'll lay before this town our royal bones,/Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood,/But we will make it subject to this boy."

(Photo by Veronica Majerol)

Act II scene i: The Duke of Austria [Bob Armstrong], wearing the lionskin he took from the murdered Richard the Lionhearted, blusters for war when informed that the English have landed and are at hand: "By how much unexpected, by so much/We must awake endeavor for defence;For courage mounteth with occasion./Let them be welcome then; we are prepared." (Photo by Steve Barrett)


Act II scene i: The English (L-R): Essex [Brian Morvant]; The Bastard Jim Jack]; Pemboke [Al Foote III]; Eleanor [Libby Hughes]; King John [Nicholas Stannard]; Lady Blanche [Gretchen Howe] enter the parley.  King John: "Peace be to France, if France in peace permit/Our just and lineal entrance to our own;/If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven,/Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct/Their proud contempt that beats his peace to heaven.”

(Photo by Laural Burkell)

Act II scene i: Both sides trade insults, led by Eleanor for the English and Contance for France. The Dauphin [Sam Chase] attempts to intervene: "Women and fools, break off your conference./King John, this is the very sum of all:/England and Ireland, Angers, Touraine, Maine,/In right of Arthur do I claim of thee./Wilt thou resign them and lay down thy arms?" King John: "My life as soon."

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act II scene i: At last King Philip appeals to the citizens of Angers to declare for one side or the other, but a Citizen [Patrick Knighton], with Hubert [Joseph Small] announces from the town walls that they will not, cannot choose: "Till you compound whose right is worthiest,/We for the worthiest hold the right from both."

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act II scene i: The Bastard [Jim Jack] comes up with a solution: "By heaven, these scroyles of Angers flout you, Kings,/And stand securely on their battlements/As in a theatre, whence they gape and point/At you industrious scenes and acts of death./Your royal presences, be ruled by me:/Be friends a while, and both conjointly bend/Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town./I'd play incessantly upon these jades/Even till unfenced desolation/Leave them as naked as the vulgar air./That done, dissever your united strengths/And part your mingled colors once again;/Turn face to face and bloody point to point."

Also pictured: King John [Nicholas Stannard], and King Philip of France [Marc Silberschatz]


Act II scene i: The Citizens propose that rather than uniting to destroy their city England and France unite for a royal marriage: King John's niece Blanche should marry the Dauphin. Eleanor grasps at once that this will be the disenfranchisement of Arthur, and urges John to accept: "Son, list to this conjunction; make this match./Give with our niece a dowry large enough,/For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie/Thy now unsured assurance to the crown/That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe/The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit."

Eleanor [Libby Hughes] and King John [Nicholas Stannard]

(Photo by Amy Chen)

Act II scene i: Both sides enthusiastically agree to the marriage, with John promising to give the young couple most of the English territories in France as a wedding present. After the two armies joyfully go into Angers for the ceremony The Bastard is left part bemused, part outraged by his first up-close experience of Realpolitik. "Mad world, mad kings, mad composition!.../Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids--/Who having no external thing to lose/But the word 'maid'-- cheats the poor maid of that--/That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling Commodity./Commodity, the bias of the world." The Bastard [Jim Jack]

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act III scene i: When Constance [Vanessa Elder] learns of the engagement of Blanche and the Dauphin she rails against Philip of France for treacherously deserting the cause of her son: "To me and to the state of my great grief/Let kings assemble, for my grief's so great/That no supporter but the huge firm earth/Can hold it up. Here I and sorrows sit./Here is my throne; bid kings come bow to it." And when the wedding party enters she cries "A wicked day and not a holy day!"

(Photo by Alex Goz)

Act III scene i: The wedding festivities are further interrupted by Cardinal

Pandulph, the papal legate sent from Rome to excommunicate

King John for meddling in church affairs in England.
(L-R): King Philip [Marc Silberschatz]; King John [Nicholas Stannard]; The Bastard [Jim Jack]; Dauphin [Sam Chase]; Lady Blanche [Gretchen Howe]; Pandulph [Steven Eng]; Lady-in-Waiting [Donna Stearns], Eleanor [Libby Hughes]

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act III scene i: King Philip [Marc Silberschatz] protests that France and England are new in amity, and allies, but Pandulph [Steven Eng] require that the new treaties be severed. "All form is formless, order orderless,/Save what is opposite to England's love./ Therefore to arms! Be champion of our church,/Or let the church our mother breathe her curse,/A mother's curse, on her revolting son."

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act III scene i: As her uncle's family and her husband's family once more confront each other for war, Blanche [Gretchen Howe] is left in the middle. "The sun's o'ercast with blood; fair day, adieu!/Which is the side that I must go withal?/I am with both; each army hath a hand,/And in their rage, I having both,/They whirl asunder and dismember me."

(Photo by Nicholas Branda)

Act III scene iii: The English decisively triumph over the French, killing the Duke of Austria and capturing Arthur. Hubert [Joseph Small] of Angers enters the service of King John [Nicholas Stannard], serves him well, and is offered a new task. John: Good Hubert! Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye/On yon young boy. I'll tell thee what, my friend,/He is a very serpent in my way./Thou art his keeper." Hubert "And I'll keep him so/That he shall not offend your majesty." John: "Death." Hubert: "My lord." John: "A grave." Hubert: "He shall not live." 

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act III scene iii: Queen Eleanor will take charge of English army in France when King John returns to England, and with silken seeming-sincerity, she welcomes Arthur into the royal family and sends him off to London in Hubert's care: "My blessings go with thee." Pictured (L-R) Lady-in-Waiting [Donna Stearns]; Arthur [Miriam Lipner],; Eleanor [Libby Hughes]; and King John [Nicholas Stannard]

(Photo by Hannah Thonet)

Act III scene iv: The French are despondent over their losses in battle, and Constance has been driven mad with grief over the seizing of Arthur: "Grief fills the room up of my absent child,/Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,/Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,/Remembers me of all his gracious parts,/Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form."

King Philip of France [Marc Silberschatz] and Constance [Vanessa Elder]

(Photo by Veronica Majerol)

Act III scene iv: When urged by King Philip to dress her hair in a proper, respectable manner, she tears at it: "I will not keep this form upon my head/When there is such disorder in my wit./O Lord! My boy, my Arthur, my fair son!/My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!/My widow-comfort, and my sorrow's cure."

Constance [Vanessa Elder]

(Photo by Al Foote III)

Act III scene iv: Cardinal Pandulph [Steven Eng] cooly goes about rousing the Dauphin from his depression, driving him to invade England with the promise that as soon as King John has Arthur killed, his subjects will turn from him: "O sir, when he shall hear of your approach--/If that young Arthur be not gone already--/Even at that news he dies. And then the hearts/Of all his people shall revolt from him...If but a dozen French/Were there in arms, they would be as a call/To train ten thousand English to their side."

(Photo by Nicholas Branda)

Act IV scene i: In the Tower of London, Hubert [Joseph Small] shows Arthur [Miriam Lipner] the warrant from King John. Arthur: "Will you put out my eyes--/These eyes that never did, nor never shall,/So much as frown on you?" Hubert: "I have sworn to do it./And with hot irons I must burn them out."

(Photo by Hannah Thonet)

Act IV scene i: Arthur [Miriam Lipner] pleads with Hubert. Hubert: "Hold you tongue." Arthur: "Let me not hold my tongue. Let me not, Hubert,/Or Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,/So I may keep my eyes. O spare mine eyes,/Though to no use but still to look on you." Hubert cannot bear to harm the boy and secretly conveys him to another part of the Tower.

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act IV scene ii: The Bastard [Jim Jack], now wearing his father's lionskin, comes to the castle to warn King John of the French invasion and the general unrest. John: "O my gentle cousin,/Hears't thou the news abroad, who are arrived?" Bastard: "The French, my lord, men's mouths are full of it./Besides, I met Lord Bigot and Lord Salisbury,/With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,/And others more, going to seek the grave,/Of Arthur, whom they say is killed tonight/On your suggestion."

(Photo by Nicholas Branda)

Act IV scene iii :Arthur [Miriam Lipner] tries to escape from the Tower and falls to his death. Lord Salisbury [Peter Herrick] finds the body and carries it to the other Lords. "This is the bloodiest shame,/The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke,/That ever wall-eyed wrath or staring rage/ Presented to the tears of soft remorse./It is the shameful practice and the purpose of the King--/From whose obedience I forbid my soul."

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act V scene ii: The Lords, disgusted by the King's murder of Arthur, join with the Dauphin's army. (L-R): Salisbury [Peter Herrick]; Essex [Brian Morvant]; Pembroke [Al Foote III]. The Bastard comes to parley with the French forces, telling them that King John's army is approaching and chastising the English traitors: "Know the gallant monarch is in arms/And like an eagle o'er his eyrie towers/To souse annoyance that comes near his nest./And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts,/You bloody Neroes, ripping the womb/Of your dear mother, England: blush for shame.”

(Photo by Laura Burkell)

Act V sc Vii: The battle goes against the French, their supplies are lost, and the English knights, warned that the Dauphin intends to behead them as soon as the fighting is over, return to their allegiance to King John. The King, however, is dying, poisoned by a monk. He asks that he be carried out into the garden: "Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room;/It would not out at windows nor at door.../Within me is a hell, and there the poison/Is, as a fiend, confined to tyrannize/On unreprievable, condemned blood."  King John [Nicholas Stannard]; The Bastard [Jim Jack]
(Photo Laura Burke)

Act V scene vii: King John dies before learning of the complete victory of the English forces, and his son becomes Henry III [Patrick Knighton]. The faithful Bastard [Jim Jack] crowns him and addresses the assembled Lords: "This England never did, nor never shall,/Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror/But when it first did help to wound itself./Now these her princes are come home again,/Come the three corners of the world in arms/And we shall shock them! Naught shall make us rue,/If England to itself do rest but true." (Photo by Veronica Majerol)

KING JOHN

GALLERY

The Bastard [Jim Jack], battles The Duke of Austria [Bob Armstrong].

(photo by Steve Barrett)

Act I scene i: The Bastard [Jim Jack]

(Photo by Steve Barrett)

Act II scene i: Essex [Brian Morvant]

(Photo by Steve Barrett)

Act II scene i: Salisbury [Peter Herrick]

(Photo by Steve Barrett)

Act II scene i: King John [Nicholas Stannard], at the gates of Angers

(Photo by Steve Barrett)

Act III scene iv: Constance [Vanessa Elder]

(Photo by Steve Barrett)

The Duke of Austria [Bob Armstrong]

(photos by Steve Barrett)

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