Friday, May 31, 2013

Week 3: King Henry VI, Part 2

In which we consider plot construction.

Intrigue! Double-crossing! Beheadings! Murders! Madness! Witchcraft! Battles! Rebellion! Treason! Rebellion, again! 

King Henry VI, Part 2* is a million compelling actions shoehorned into one long play. It's pretty impossible, in my opinion, to keep up with it emotionally; there's never a breath of air to ponder someone's death because someone else is already busy getting themselves killed. Reading this has made me interested in how plot works in Shakespeare's other plays. They're often complicated (thus my very very long blog posts). Are they ever too complicated? And in which areas? I know modern productions sometimes leave out parts of the plays due to time/audience attention span constraints, but I'm not sure which plays and which parts and how all that's decided. Anyone with information, I'd be glad to hear.

I was going to write a little about Henry's qualities as a ruler, but since my blog posts thus far have tended to be, in my friend Martin's words, "extensive," I'll give you and myself a break and stop there. After all, I have to slog through get to read two more parts of this story. So here, for your entertainment and edification, is another number from Kiss Me, Kate (this performance is not from the film, because all the best/dirtiest puns were censored from that).

*From what I understand it's believed Shakespeare wrote this first, then Part 3, then Part 1 as a sort of prequel. 

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