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Posts from the ‘plays’ Category


#Play Noises Off by Michael Frayn



  1. The play has received two major Broadway productions and
  2. …numerous regional ones in the United States,
  3. United Kingdom, and  other countries in Europe and Asia.
  4. In response to its popularity, Frayn has continued to
  5. rewrite the play in the thirty years since he first wrote it.



  1. For once a blurb has lived up to expectations
  2. …this is surely the funniest farce ever written!
  3. This play-in-a-play left me laughing out loud!
  4. Noises Off  (1982) by Michael Frayn.
  5. It is said to be one of the
  6. ...greatest comedies ever preformed on stage!
  7. Reading the introduction…and discover the first laugh!
  8. Prague: play performed without Act 3 for 10 years…
  9. NO one noticed until Frayn arrived for a show!
  10. The play is available on Kindle.
  11. Reading time: 2 hr 55 min
  12. Perfect poolside
  13. …reading this summer.
  14. #LOL



#Non-fiction August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle



  1. August Wilson understood the power of the theater.
  2. He used it to its full potential by
  3. …inserting honesty and realism into every play.
  4. Some consider August Wilson “America’s Shakespeare”.
  5. August Wilson was an American playwright
  6. …who did the unheard of- penning ten plays.
  7. …one for each decade of the 20th C.


  1.  Wilson received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama:
  2.  Fences (1987), The Piano Lesson (1990)
  3. These 10 plays gives a glimpse into
  4. …American history through the
  5. …lens of the Black experience.
  6. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is a
  7. …series of critical essays about the plays.
  8. I have reviewed the first 5 essays
  9. …you can discover the rest of the book yourself!



  1. Essays 1-6 were interesting
  2. Essays 7-13 …seemed to repeat many thoughts
  3. about two plays: Gem of the Ocean and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.
  4. Weak point: the essays do  NOT explain all 10 plays
  5. One of the most famous play is Fences  NOT reviewed!
  6. It is considered  the African-American version
  7. ot The Death of a Salesman
  8. A few essays were very instructive about…
  9. Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  10. ….but still feel  that the book
  11. does not live up to my expectations.
  12. #Disappointed





1. The  emancipated century – J.H. Scott  ( 2 plays discussed) – easy to read

  1. Play: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone 
  2. Set in 1911… the play is about African Americans cut adrift  by
  3. The Great Migration to the North and by slavery from their African past.
  4. The  characters meet in a boarding house
  5. They represent a cross-section of  African Americans.
  6. The boarders are  in the midst of a
  7. …massive search for their “song,” or identity.


  1. Play: The Piano Lesson
  2. Set in 1936…this is a …
  3. Family conflict between Bernice and her
  4. …brother Boy Willie about the family piano.
  5. For Boy Willie the piano is a way to get some quick cash to buy land. 
  6. For Bernice, the piano is a source of strength.
  7. It reminds her of the courage and endurance shown by her ancestors.
  8. Boy Willie looks to the future
  9. …while Bernice looks to the past.


2. Situated identity in The Janitor (J. Zeff):  short essay about a play that is NOT in the cycle.

  1. The Janitor is a 1985  4 minute play.
  2. A janitor is someone society ignores.
  3. He is left to sweep the floor.
  4. The janitor gets an idea.
  5. …sees a microphone in an empty hall
  6. …and just starts talking.
  7. Messageidentity is a work in progress which is in your control,
  8. “…but what you are now ain’t what you gonna become.”


3. Two Trains Running (S. Saddler, P. Bryant-Jackson) – This essay did not appeal to me. SKIM!

  1. This was a  comparison of two books by
  2. American scholars Living Black History, M. Marable and
  3. The Archive and the Repertoire, D. Taylor.
  4. Where is the play?
  5. I noticed they referred to the play
  6. Two Trains Running  but do NOT review this play at length
  7. …so I decided to skim this essay and
  8. …investigate the Pulitzer Prize 1992 play on Wikipedia.
  9. I learned more on Wiki…than in his essay!


4. World War II History (E. Bonds) – excellent essay,  I learned a lot about the difficult period just after WW II.  Black men struggle to move on after the war. They feel they are not benefiting from the post WW II economic boom.  They feel like…they are still fighting.

  1. Play: Seven Guitars
  2. Set in 1948…
  3. …The play begins and ends after the funeral of one of the main characters.
  4. Events leading to the funeral  are revealed in flashbacks.
  5. The essay explains the 7 characters (7 guitars) and their
  6. individual out-of-tune chords (life experiences).
  7. What I did not realize was how important the boxer
  8. Joe Lewis was for the African American community.
  9. Wilson uses Lewis’s fame and downfall as an essential part of the play.
  10. It is so sad to read that  African American GI’s were fighting
  11. …on two fronts:
  12. the enemy overseas….and racism at home.


5. Stereotype and Archetype in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (M. Downing) – best explanation difference stereotype vs archetype I’ve ever read.  Excellent essay, lucidly-written, logically-structured, and convincingly argued.

  1. Play: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  2. Set in 1920s…the historic exploitation of
  3. black recording artists by white producers.
  4. The essay explains how August Wilson started with
  5. stereotypes assigned by whites to blacks in the play.
  6. Then he remakes them into archetypes.
  7. I would have missed this
  8. …completely by just reading the play!
  9. Wilson places the stereotype (ST) at the beginning of the play
  10. …adds monologues…adds POV of African American characters
  11. …draws the original ST (evokes criticism, suspicion, scorn)
  12. …into an archetype (evokes empathy, understanding, compassion)
  13. Example: Ma Rainey is introduced as
  14. ST: chaotic, unreasonable, difficult, a risk with the law
  15. Wilson breaks this ST into components and rebuilds Ma as
  16. AT: mother, queen, goddess

#20BooksOfSummer 2019

  • I just love this photo from last years’s post #20BooksOfSummer 2018.
  • I’m using it again because it always makes me smile and
  • …I have the urge to make a  Gin & Tonic !



  1. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet READ
  2. The Glass MenagerieTennessee WilliamsREAD
  3. Waiting for GodotS. BeckettREAD
  4. Twenty-First Century American PlaywrightsC. BigsbyREAD
  5. The Mueller Report READ
  6. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of FreedomD. Blight – READ
  7. Stamped From the Beginning I.X. Kendi – READ
  8. The New Negro: The Life of Alain LockeJ.C. Stewart  – READ
  9. The ArsonistC. Hooper – READ
  10. HimselfJess Kidd – READ
  11. August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle (13 essays) – editor S. Shannon #20BoS – READ
  12. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  – E. Ablee – READ  (play
  13. Noises OffM. Frayn – READ  (play)
  14. FencesA. Wilson – READ  (play)
  15. Streetcar Named DesireT. Williams – READ
  16. Blakwork – A. Whittaker – READ
  17. James Tiptree, jr. The Double Life Alice Sheldon – J. Phillips – READ 
  18. Ghosts of the Tsunami R. L. Parry READ
  19. Indecent (play) – Paula Vogel READ
  20. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – J. Boyne – READ
  21. The Coddling of the American MInd G. Lukianoff, J. Haidt – READ
  22. Astonished Dice – G. Cochrane (short stories) – READ
  23. We Can Make a Life – C. Henry – READ
  24. Seeing Yellow (poetry) – E. Bourke – READ  shortlist Irish Times Poetry Award 2019
  25. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson – READ
  26. The First CasualtyPeter Greste – READ
  27. Max HavelaarMultatuli – READ
  28. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to WriteS. Ruhl – READ
  29. These TruthsJill Lepore – READ


Using this list for #20BooksOfSummer….

#Challenge read 50 Best Plays in the Past 100 Years:     13/50

  1.  Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller (Pulitzer 1949) – READ 
  2.  Streetcar Named Desire – T. Williams – READ
  3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? E. Albee (Pulitzer 1963 READ
  4.  Long Day’s Journey into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill  – READ
  5. Fences – A. Wilson – READ 
  6. Angels in America: T. Kushner
  7. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett – READ 
  8.  Pygmalion (1913) by George Bernard Shaw
  9.  A Raisin in the Sun (1959) by Lorraine Hansberry READ 
  10.  Our Town (1938) by Thornton Wilder
  11.  Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) by Luigi Pirandello
  12. The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams – READ
  13. Glengarry Glen RossD. Mamet – READ
  14. August: Osage County (2007) by Tracy Letts
  15.  True West (1980) by Sam Shepard READ 
  16.  The Iceman Cometh (1946) by Eugene O’Neill
  17.  Look Back in Anger (1956) by John Osborne
  18.  A View from the Bridge (1955) by Arthur Miller – READ
  19.  The Little Foxes. (1939) by Lillian Hellman
  20.  The Real Thing (1982) by Tom Stoppard
  21.  Master Harold and the Boys (1982) by Athol Fugard
  22.  The Homecoming (1965) by Harold Pinter
  23.  Ruined (2008) by Lynn Nottage (2009)
  24.  Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) by Bertolt Brecht
  25.  Six Degrees of Separation (1990) by John Guare
  26.  Doubt (2004) by John Patrick Shanley
  27.  Top Girls (1982) by Caryl Churchill
  28.  Present Laughter (1942) by Noel Coward
  29. Noises Off – M. Frayn – READ 
  30. Marat/Sade (1964) by Peter Weiss
  31.  The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001) by Martin McDonagh
  32.  Machinal (1928) by Sophie Treadwell
  33.  The Norman Conquests(1973) trilogy by Alan Ayckbourn
  34.  The Bald Soprano (1950) by Eugene Ionesco
  35.  M. Butterfly (1988) by David Henry Hwang
  36.  The Dybbuk (1920) by S Ansky
  37.  Saved (1965) by Edward Bond
  38. Topdog/Underdog (2002) by Suzan-Lori Parks 
  39. The Front Page (1928) by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur
  40. Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) by Dario Fo.
  41. Picnic (1953) by William Inge
  42. Journey’s End (1928) by R.C. Sherriff
  43. The Odd Couple (1965) by Neil Simon
  44. The Orphans Home cycle – 3 one act plays by Horton Foote (masterpieces!)
  45. The Women. (1936) by Clare Boothe Luce
  46. What The Butler Saw (1969) by Joe Orton
  47. Awake and Sing! (1935) by Clifford Odets
  48. The Piano Lesson (1987) by A. Wilson
  49. Uncommon Women and Others (1977) by Wendy Wasserstein
  50. The Weir (1997) by Conor McPherson- READ



#AWW2019 Nakkiah Lui (playwright)

  • Author: Nakkiah Lui (1991)  Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman
  • Title: Black is the New White
  • Published: 2019 (book)
  • Opening night: 10 May 2017 Sydney Theatre Company
  • Genre: play (romantic comedy)
  • Trivia: Indigenous issues
  • Trivia: 2018 winner NSW Lit Award for Playwriting
  • Trivia: 2018 shortlist Victorian Premier’s Award Drama
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2019
  • @AusWomenWriters
  • @AllenandUnwin



  1. Young couple Charlotte Gibson and
  2. Francis Smith are newly engaged.
  3. But their fathers are political rivals.
  4. The Gibson and Smith families gather for Christmas lunch.
  5. Unexpected guests, sudden self-realizations
  6. …and family secrets disrupt their meal.
  7. Themes: land rights, politics, relationships, identity, class.
  8. Question: What is it to be Aboriginal and middle class?



  1. 7 scenes
  2. 8 characters:
  3. Engaged couple (20s)  Charlotte and Francis
  4. Their respective parents (50-60s) Joan, Ray, Maire and Dennison
  5. Daughter (nr 2) and son-in-law (30s) Rose and Sonny



  1. To speed up the pace Nakkiah uses overlapping dialogue.
  2. The idea was to write dialogue
  3. …the way people really speak
  4. …so that characters cut off the
  5. beginnings and ends of each other’s sentences.
  6. Full revelation of emotions is transformed into comedy.
  7. At times it feels like community (scene 3-4-5-6)
  8. ….and at times like chaos! (scene 7)



  1. To give the play a very culturally modern feel we read about a
  2. virtual reality mask, twitter, Michell Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton,
  3. Kim and Kayne Kardishan, Beyoncé and JayZ, Martin Luther King,
  4. Waleed Aly, Alicia Keyes,
  5. Netflix series House of Cards and the movie Cluesless.



  1. Lui uses a technique of the narrator to
  2. give the audience/reader the backstory.
  3. The narrator comments on action, adds insight
  4. …on characters, stage elements
  5. …developing a precise and complete character persona.



  1. I will not reveal any spoilers
  2. …..the play should be read with a clean slate.
  3. You will enjoy the unfinished battles
  4. …in the character’s public and private lives!
  5. We follow the maze from character to character….
  6. …with the climatic scene 7
  7. …which includes 15 ‘bombshells’ of information!
  8. In Black is the New White (title revealed in scene 4)
  9. …you meet 8 characters  who
  10. challenge stereotypes of
  11. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  12. With Nakkiah Lui’s  comic descriptions of
  13. their personal interaction and commentary
  14. …you have an unforgettable romantic comedy
  15. …and many life lessons.
  16. #MustRead   #MustLaugh

#AWW2019 Winner NSW Lit Award for Drama


  • Triivia: 2019 Prize for Drama: NSW Literary Awards
  • Trivia: 2019 Prize for Drama: Victorian Premier’s Award
  • Trivia: 2018  Judges’ Award  Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting
  • Trivia: 2018 Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards



  1. The play centers on a young woman (Anna).
  2. She  has been medicated for a range of mood and
  3. behavioral disorders since she was a child.
  4. Now she wants to find out what
  5. ...her life would be like without pills.
  6. The play takes an unflinching look at
  7. mental illness and medication among young people.


What is the structure of the play?

  1. Act 1 (7 scenes) – reading time:  1 hr 30 min
  2. Act 2  (6 scenes) – reading time:        50 min



  1. There are two book covers
  2. ….that convey different messages.
  3. Daughter: breaking free…carefree and in control of her life
  4. …after she chooses to stop her mental illness medication.
  5. Mother:  having spent years keeping her daughter safe
  6. …is powerless to stop her.


Daughter: Anna

Mother: Renée

What is the trigger in Act 1 ….something big at stake?

  1. Anna  suffers from mental
  2. ….heath issues (bipolar) since she was a child.
  3. In Act 1 she is 18 yr and decides
  4. …she wants to stop with her medication.
  5. This is a very scary decision she makes.
  6. It affects  everyone else around her.
  7. Her mother really struggles NOT to intervene.


What is the tension in the play?

  1. Anna has one desire…to stop medicating
  2. …and be in control of her life.
  3. The journey pursuing this desire forms the plot.
  4. The tension for the audience is
  5. the DOUBT that is aroused about Anna…
  6. “..will she or won’t she break free of the pills?”


  1. Strong point:
  2. Ms Feaver generates a subtext (stories of 8 yr girl)
  3. ….that she can play off of in the play
  4. The history of what has happened
  5. moments that refer to the character’s past.
  6. are very important part of the play.


  1. Strong point:
  2. The play is deliberately intimidating
  3. …about a girl in a sudden state of crisis
  4. …to raise awareness
  5. …about youth’s mental health issues.
  6. Ms Kendall has done extensive research
  7. and spoken to many psychiatrists.
  8. It took Kendall Feaver 5 years to finish the script.


  1. Strong Point:
  2. Title: The Almighty Sometimes
  3. …has intrigued me from the beginning!
  4. It refers to an option on questionnaires:
  5. Never – Always – Sometimes.
  6. Sometimes....Anna is troubled
  7. …but sometimes  she is
  8. …good, kind and capable.
  9. It is a hard choice a mother
  10. …must make when answering
  11. …questions about her daughter.



  1. 2-Act structure is a simple.
  2. It looks at the character’s journey
  3. …in he clinical world living day to day
  4. with a mental health condition.
  5. There is a routine of life between
  6. mother and daughter that passes for existence.
  7. Frenetic activity is expressed in the
  8. …dialogue with boyfriend Oliver
  9. …and psychiatrist Vivienne.
  10. Later this gives way to many
  11. moments of silence between daughter and mother.
  12. Anna  is  pushed to the extreme
  13. …as her internal and external worlds explode.
  14. Act 1 may feel a bit too long…but keep reading.
  15. Act 2 is where the fireworks display starts!


Last thoughts:

  1. Mother-daughter relationships are complex.
  2. Some mothers and daughters are best friends.
  3. Some avoid conflict.
  4. Others talk through everything…
  5. not so  between Anna and Renée!
  6. Strong point:
  7. The best part of the play…
  8. …as Kendall Feaver  shows us a
  9. snapshot of real life with a protective mother
  10. …and a daughter who feels she’s been lied
  11. …to, misunderstood and mis-diagnosed!
  12. The Almighty Sometimes is best seen on stage
  13. where sparks will fly between mother and daughter.
  14. Reading the play is the only alternative I have
  15. ….but am probably missing the best part:
  16. …the actors performance!


#Ireland Phillip McMahon (playwright)


  • Author: Phillip McMahon (1979)
  • Title: Come On Home
  • Opening night: July 2018
  • Location: The Peacock Theatre is situated under the Abbey foyer.
  • It is affiliated with Ireland’s National Theatre and
  • The Abbey Theatre.Abbey Theatre Dublin
  • Director: Rachel O’Riordan (1974)
  • Trivia: Nominated Best New Play Irish Times Theatre Awards
  • Winner: Announcement 31 March 2019
  • List of Challenges 2019
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth19



  1. The play is about a family forced
  2. …into a reunion under difficult circumstances.
  3. A family funeral is the best time to clear the air
  4. …and at the same time muddy the waters!
  5. The play deals with bigotry in a small town in Ireland.
  6. Characters talk about love, loss, abuse and drink.
  7. They must say difficult things.
  8. History and blood binds them
  9. but they don’t know each other.
  10. Michael hasn’t been home in almost twenty years.
  11. He was kicked out of the seminary and
  12. exiled from his family home.
  13. But now, the death of his mother sees him
  14. ….reunited with his two brothers
  15. …their partners and the local clergy.
  16. Questions must be answered.
  17. Scores met be settled.


Cast: 5 male actors – 2 female actors

  1. Brothers: Ray – Michael – Brian
  2. Clergy: Fr. Cleary – Fr. Seamus
  3. Partners: Aoife (Ray’s partner) – Martina (Brian’s wife)
  4. Setting: family living room, single setting = pressure-cooker play
  5. Secrets surface only under pressure.
  6. Strong emotions (despair, fear, anger) created by events
  7. Why does the character have difficulty telling these secrets?
  8. Is it fear? shame? pride?
  9. …that makes the words stick in the character’s throat?
  10. Theme: classic Irish drama –>  exile …then returning home


  1. Phillip McMahon has created  2 act play with 8 scenes
  2. …that does NOT focus on a complex narrative plot line.
  3. He is interested in showing only the moments of intense conflict
  4. …that shape his characters.
  5. Ireland is changing and
  6. themes as a gay priest…are now on stage.
  7. This makes the play feel fresh, surprising, and compelling.
  8. The real excitement is the pivotal moment
  9. …the moment when all control is in the balance.
  10. We hold our breath!
  11. What is that moment in this play?
  12. I’ll let you discover that
  13. Will it win the Irish Times Theatre Award?
  14. Award will be announced on 31st of March!
  15. #PowerfulPlay

#Classic: Hamlet



  1. Lovers:  Ophelia and Hamlet
  2. Focus: revenge – the obsession to avenge can drive one mad
  3. Family issue: Uncle kills Hamlet’s father and marries his mother (yikes!)
  4. Plot twist: ghost of King Hamlet wants revenge. Triggers entire play!
  5. Hook: Ghost in Act 1…all acts end with cliffhangers!!
  6. Genre:  Revenge play
  7. Pivotal acts:  Act 3 and Act 5
  8. Soliloquies:  7 spoken by Hamlet
  9. Tragic flaw Hamlet: overthinks everything! “To be or not to be…” (Act 3, 1)
  10. Villian: Claudius manipulative, ruthless
  11. Ophelia: weak character compared to Desdamona!
  12. Minor character who plays major role: Laertes
  13. Symbol: poison (weapon, manipulation and madness)
  14. Motif: spying (eavesdropping) to seek truth)
  15. Spies: Hamlet, Horatio, Reynaldo, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius, King Claudius
  16. Victims: Queen, King, Ophelia, Hamlet, Laertes
  17. Shakespeare’s statement: “What a piece of work is man!” (Act 2, 2)
  18. Setting:  Elsinore Castle, Danish coast, graveyard
  19. Major themesrevenge, madness. death. appearance vs reality
  20. Minor themesambition, corruption
  21. …”Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”  (Act 1, 4)
  22. Body count: 9
  23. King Hamlet (before play starts)
  24. Queen Gertrude
  25. King Claudius
  26. Polonius
  27. Rosencrantz
  28. Guildenstern
  29. Ophelia
  30. Laertes
  31. Hamlet
  32. The only main character left
  33. …standing at the end is Horatio,
  34. …who is usually seen sitting on the ground,
  35. …cradling Hamlet’s corpse.
  36. So technically, he’s not standing.
    1 drowning
    2 beheadings
    1 simple stabbing
    2 simple poisonings and
    3 aggravated stabbings (poisoned blade/some poison)
  37. Now that’s what I call a tragedy!


Trend:   Theme: illusion vs reality

  1. In Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello and Hamlet
  2. ….Shakespeare uses this theme to drive the plot.
  3. I will be looking at other plays by WS to see if he repeats this theme.
  4. Midsummer Night’s Dream: play-in-play (illusion)….is also used in Hamlet
  5. Othello: it appears Desdemona is having an affair ( lost handkerchief)…she is not.
  6. Hamlet: it appears Hamlet is in a legitimate duel…he is not, sword is poison tipped
  7. Hamlet: Claudius appears to be praying on his knees…he is not.
  8. Hamlet: Claudius must appear to be guiltless in death of Hamlet…he is not.
  9. Hamlet: Killing Hamlet must appear to be an accident….it is not, it is premeditated


Last thoughts:

  1. I have been avoiding this play for years
  2. …too difficult, complex plot.
  3. Finally I can strike this play off my Bucket List!
  4. I ordered the Kenneth Branagh’s film  Hamlet (1996)
  5. It is the only version that includes the complete text
  6. …nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
  7. …and is 4 hours long.
  8. #GetOutThePopcorn

#Play: Chimerica

  • Author: Lucy Kirkwood
  • Title: Chimerica
  • Published: 2013
  • List of Challenges
  • Monthly plan
  • List of Plays and theatre links
  • Trivia:
  • Winner, 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
    Winner, 2014 Olivier Award for Best New Play
    Winner, 2013 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play
    Winner, 2014 Critics’ Circle Best New Play Award



Finished: 11.02.2019
Genre: play
Rating: A


  1. If you are in a winter ‘reading slump’ read a play!
  2. This award winning work by Lucy Kirkwood is a good place to start.
  3. There was a tank man (see cover), the photo proves it and
  4. Kirkwood has taken a creative leap to tell us who he is…
  5. why he is standing there….and what is in those shopping bags?
  6. A writer’s duty is to the story rather than the facts as they happened.
  7. Kirkwood’s Chimerica  is based  loosely on the
  8. 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
  9. She fictionalized it and retained control of the impressive narrative.
  10. It took Kirkwood 6 years to write this play
  11. …and you can read it is 2,5 hrs.

#Classic: Richard II

Ben Whishaw



  1. Love triangles:  None!
  2. Focus: the king is God’s appointee and above the law
  3. Family issue: Richard II steals cousin’s inheritance (Bolingbroke)
  4. Richard II: amateur politician, monarch treats England as a possession
  5. Henry Bolingbroke Duke of Herford: Machiavellian strategist
  6. Betrayal: Bolingbroke returns from banishment
  7. instigates a coup, imprisonment and murder


  1. Pivotal scene: Act 4,1 – Richard removes his  crown
  2. ” I give this heavy weight from off my head
  3. …And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand…”
  4. Minor characters with major role….move plot along:
  5. Duchess of Gloucester – devastated by loss her husband
  6. Duchess of York –  exemplifies love for a child
  7. Queen Isabel – exemplifies devotion to husband Richard II
  8. Setting: England, Wales,
  9. …Westminster Hall (Act 4: deposition of Richard II)
  10. …Castles Flint, Pomfret, Berkeley and Tower of London


  1. Major theme:  legal vs divine right to rule
  2. Minor theme: honor
  3. “My honor is my life; both grow in one
  4. Take honor from me; my life is done (Act 1)
  5. Symbol: hand mirror (Act 4,1) 
  6. Richard speaks to images of himself in a mirror.
  7. ….then shatters the glass (his identity)
  8. Body count: 16


  1. Shakespeare mixes fact and fiction:
  2. Richard II wife, Queen Isabel, is an adult when she was widowed in the play.
  3. Reality: Isabel was a child bride (7 yr) and was widowed at 10 yrs old.
  4. Genre: history play used by Elizabethan monarch to legitimize power
  5. Shakespeare’s statement: Act 3,2 
  6. “I had forgot myself; am I not king?
    Awake, thou coward majesty! thou sleepest.”


Last thoughts:

  1. Once you know basic story line….
  2. this is a  very readable play
  3. …and you learn about British history!
  4. #MustRead Classic


Watched DVD  The Hollow Crown episode Richard II

  1. Act 1, 2: left out  (short scene with John of Gaunt and Duchess of Gloucester)
  2. Act 3,1  beheading of traitors Bugsy and Greene (OMG)
  3. Act 3, 2 beautifully filmed…Richard II realizes….he’s doomed.
  4. Act 3,2  here where you find the title.
  5. “…for within the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king
  6. Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits…”
  7. Act 3,4 (short garden scene) the queen eavesdrops on the
  8. …gardener and hears her husband has abdicated.
  9. This scene is more powerful on film than in the play.
  10. Act 4, 1: so impressive!
  11. The film emphasizes the ‘Christ-like’ image of Richard II being
  12. brought to  Westminster Hall in flowing
  13. …white robes and riding on a donkey!
  14. An emotional Richard II finally hands the “hollow crown’
  15. ….over to his cousin Bolingbroke.  (future Henry IV)
  16. Reading the play first  then
  17. …seeing it on film is absolutely thrilling.
  18. Act,5 5: …what a death scene Richard II.
  19. This DVD is truly worth you time and money!


Basic story line:

  1. Richard II  is called upon to settle a dispute
  2. …between his cousin Henry Bolingbroke (future Henry IV)
  3. and Thomas Mowbray. (Act 1)
  4. Richard II calls for a duel but then halts it just before swords clash.
  5. Both duelers are  banished from the realm.  (Act 2)
  6. When Richard II banishes Bolingbroke and confiscates his property.
  7. …he begins a chain of events that bring about his own downfall.
  8. Richard II then  leaves for wars against the rebels in Ireland.(Act 3)
  9. Bolingbroke returns to claim back his inheritance. (Act 3)
  10. Bolingbroke forces Richard II to abdicate. (Act 4)
  11. Bolingbroke takes Richard prisoner and lays claim to the throne. (Act 5)
  12. Henry Bolingbroke Duke of Herford becomes King Henry IV.

#AWW2019 Patricia Cornelius playwright



  1. Patricia Cornelius is one of Australia’s best playwrights.
  2. Unfortunately her artistic “hands are tied”.
  3. There’s not much wiggle room if you adapt a novel
  4. for the stage.


  1. Jamal and Bibi have a dream.
  2. To lead Australia to soccer glory in the next World Cup.
  3. But first they must face landmines, pirates, storms and assassins.
  4. Can Jamal and his family survive
  5. …their incredible journey and get to Australia?


Main Characters:

  1. Jamal – (12) Afghan boy: protective of sister, Bibi. Jamal has a very big passion for soccer.
  2. Bibi – (9) Afghan girl: very courageous personality and also has a passion soccer.
  3. Omar –  Afghan boy: Jamal’s good friend, very poor and has no real family.
  4. Rashida – meets Jamal and Bibi (no parents), becomes like their mother.
  5. Andrew –  is an Australian that they meet during the campsite.


Structure:  30 scenes (no acts)



  1. Candlestick – heirloom, represents ‘guiding light”; sold to smugglers for escape
  2. Soccer ball  –  represents future happiness



  1. Adapted for the stage by Patricia Cornelius from
  2. Morris Gleitzman’s best-selling novel (2002)
  3. Boy Overboard reveals  a deeply
  4. …human side of the asylum seekers issue.
  5. Ms Cornelius is one of Australia’s best playwrights.
  6. Her play Don’t Go Gentle is extraordinary.
  7. My expectations were high….but this play is
  8. written for a young adult audience
  9. …and the dialogue reflects that.
  10. Patrica Cornelius  adapts a novel for the stage
  11. ….which limits what she can write.
  12. This is a play geared for junior high-school production.
  13. #PlayForNicheAudience