Richard, the Yorkist Duke of Gloucester, has not stopped plotting since the defeat of Henry VI. He conspires to play his brothers, Edward (now King Edward IV) and George, Duke of Clarence, against each other in an attempt to gain the crown for himself. By insinuating charges of treason against George, Richard has him arrested. He also brazenly woos Anne, widow of the murdered Prince of Wales, in the midst of her husband's funeral procession. In the course of events, Edward IV, who is deathly ill at the beginning of the play, dies; Richard has already arranged for George to be murdered while imprisoned, and so it stands that Richard will serve as regent while Edward's son (also named Edward) can come of age.
In order to "protect" the Prince of Wales and his younger brother, Richard has them stay in the Tower of London. He then moves against Edward's loyalist lords; Vaughan, Rivers, Hastings, and Grey are first imprisoned, then executed. Then, with the aid of Buckingham, Richard declares that Edward IV's offspring are technically illegitimate. In an arranged public display, Buckingham offers the throne of England to Richard, who is presumably reluctant to accept. By this time, Richard has alienated even his own mother, who curses him as a bloody tyrant.
By now, Richard needs to bolster his claims to the crown; the young princes locked away in the Tower of London must be disposed of. Buckingham, until now Richard's staunchest ally, balks at this deed. Richard gets a murderer to do the deed, but turns on Buckingham for his insubordination. Now Richard—conveniently a widower after the suspicious demise of Anne—makes a ploy to marry the late King Edward's daughter, his niece. Elizabeth, Edward's widow, makes Richard believe that she agrees to the match; however, Elizabeth has arranged for a match with the Earl of Richmond.
Richmond, at this point in the action, is bringing over an army from France to war against Richard. Buckingham, finding himself out of favor with the king, gives his allegiance to Richmond. However, Buckingham is captured when his army is thrown into disarray by floods, and Richard has him executed immediately. Richmond, who has undergone his own troubles crossing the English Channel, finally lands his army and marches for London. The armies of Richard and Richmond encamp near Bosworth Field; the night before the battle, Richard is visited by the sundry ghosts of the people he has slain, all of whom foretell his doom.
At Bosworth, Richard is unhorsed in the combat. Richmond finds him, and the two of them clash with swords. Richmond prevails and slays Richard, to be crowned as King Henry VII there on the field of battle. This is the founding of the Tudor line of kings and the end of the War of the Roses.
As You Like It
A pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare, "As You Like It" follows Rosalind as she flees the court and seeks safety in the Forest of Arden. There she runs in to Orlando who is in the forest for similar reasons -- and is the boy with whom she fell in love just before leaving court. He does not recognize her in her disguise as the shepherd Ganymede, so Rosalind takes the opportunity to teach him how to woo her and win her heart. Will this experiment succeed? Join us to find out, and remember: What happens in Arden stays in Arden!
This play features one of Shakespeare's most famous and oft-quoted speeches, "All the world's a stage", and is the origin of the phrase "too much of a good thing".
The Taming of the Shrew
Everyone loves beautiful, sweet Bianca. But her father won't let her wed until someone can tame her unruly sister, "Kate the curst". Enter Petruchio, out to make a(nother) fortune and wed a rich girl. Who will win the hand of the fair Bianca? Will Petruchio ever be able to tame this shrew?
Join Rocket City Shakespeare for our premier production!
May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7 p.m.
Students: $4 in advance, $8 at the door
General: $5 in advance, $10 at the door
Info and tickets