12 Plays of Christmas – Day 3 – King John

Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Today I have selected Shakespeare’s King John.  Traditionally this day is the day of St John, so that’s my reasoning.

“King John” is one of the History plays from Shakespeare, and one that is rarely performed.  Filled with intrigue, “King John” should not be overlooked.  The story follows the reign of King John.  At the death of his brother, he takes the throne… even though his brother has sons who could or should have taken the throne, but were boys (or a bastard).  Following all sorts of the usual dramas with France, John rules.  By the end of the play, John is poisoned, and his desire to not have the country ruled by a boy king is lost, as a child takes the throne.

There are some very cool pieces of the play that I would recommend as a 15 minute scene suggestion.  Hubert is sent to kill the child Arthur.  Arthur begs and pleads for his life, reminding Hubert why he loves him.  It is a heart wrenching scene showing a young boy begging for his life, successfully.

Another interesting angle to pursue in this play would be to look at the strong women in the play.  Queen Elinor is the King’s mother who has a strong will and basically supports her son in power.  He is devastated by her death.  Constance is the mother of Arthur, who has a terrific scene where she dislikes the idea of a marriage.  Another strong-willed woman.  And the lady Falconbridge who has to deal with men trying to outdo each other.  While not massive characters, they are all strong, and interesting women to portray.

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