You can file this under “shameless self-promotion.”
The big news of the day, at least for some of us, is that announcement that the skeleton exhumed from under a car park in Leicester, Great Britain really is that of the infamous King Richard III, whose death at the Battle of Bosworth ended the War of the Roses in 1485 and gave rise to Shakespeare’s great play.
Shakespeare only had one play about Richard, though.
I have two!
Richard III has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and I have a sub-genre of Shakespearean riffs. My two attempts to improve on The Bard, or at least imitate him, are:
* “The Making of the King, 1483-1485,” a political thriller with pollsters and campaign operatives (and apologies to Theodore White’s great series of “The Making of the President” books.)
* “This Sun of York” is a newspaper drama, of sorts. Instead of a war for the crown, it envisions two branches of the same family fighting for control of the family newspaper, with Richard as the lawyer for the victorious Yorks. Except now, with the paper safely in Yorkist hands, he’s bored — and plots his way to the publisher’s office. I’m rather proud of the wordplay that turned “this son of York” into “this Sun of York.” I’m also rather pleased with this: Instead of poor George drowning in a butt of malmsey (a wine cask, of sorts), an ink barrel in the pressroom does the job just as well.
Neither has been produced. However, “The Making of the King” was a finalist in 2004 in the Peterson Playwriting Contest at Catawba College in North Carolina and two scenes from it were later workshopped in a public performance by Another Chicago Theatre in November 2004 in their “Last Play Standing” competition.
And might I add: Both are available royalty-free (as are all my unpublished scripts). I like to think both of them would be suitable for schools (or community theatres) who want to do Shakespeare, but might find the original too daunting. You can find a more detailed synopsis and cast requirements for each here. (Keep in mind most Shakespearean performances include lots of doubling and tripling; you can too.)
Interested? Inquire within!