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It’s best to read Part One and Part Two first…..

The dark side of Queen Elizabeth was very much in the minds of Catholics in the months leading up to Love’s Labour’s Lost….

In the same month that she visited Titchfield (September, 1591) Richard Topcliffe – Elizabeth’s hangman – told Thomas Pormont….

…….(a Catholic priest he was torturing on a rack set up in his own home)..

……that he was so great and familiar with her Majesty that he many times putteth his hands between her breasts and paps, and in her neck; that he hath not only seen her legs and knees, but feeleth them with his hands above her knees; that he hath felt her belly, and said unto Her Majesty that she hath the softest belly of any womankind…..

 Topcliffe also claimed that Elizabeth  had said:

…….Be not these the arms legs and body of King Henry?……..

To which he had answered…..

…….Yea…

Topcliffe also said that Elizabeth….

…..gave him for a favour a white linen hose wroughte with white silk etc.

Topcliffe also claimed that he that he was……

……so familiar with her that when he pleaseth to speak with her he may take her away from any company, and that she is as pleasant with every one that she doth love…..

……and……

……that he did not care for the Council, for he had his authority from Her Majesty.

Pormont managed to record and smuggle out these notes to his fellow Catholics…..

…….including the Jesuit missionary and propagandist Robert Persons…..

robert persons

……who was to have a big influence on Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Indeed, he is even mentioned by name in the play!

Jaquenetta, the wench, brings a letter she believes Don Armado has sent her, to Sir Nathaniel, the curate, to read….

She says:

God give you good morrow M. Person….

To which Nathaniel replies:

Maister Person, quasi Person? And if one should be perst, which is the one.

(Note: In modern additions, this line is give to Holoferenes – but in the Quarto and First Folio editions it is given to Holofernes.)p-erson parson love's labour's lost quarto 001

Jaquenetta, as can be seen from the above, then switches names for the curate:

Good M. Parson be so good as read me this letter….

This, The Shakespeare Code believes, was a dangerous in-joke for the Catholic recusants in the audience….

ROBERT PERSONS LATEER CHANGED HIS NAME TO ROBERT PARSONS!!!

In 1592 he was to write a pseudonymous attack, in Latin, on Sir Walter Raleigh………

raleigh with pearls

…….entitled………

An Advertisement Written to a Secretary of my Lord Treasurers of England, by an English intelligencer as he passed through Germany towards Italy.

The English summary, which was published alongside it, claims that Raleigh presided over………

……..a school of atheism………….

…. in which, under direction of the astronomer and mathematician Thomas Harriot….

thomas harriot

…….whom the book describes as a ‘conjurer’…

……..both Moses and our Saviour, the old and the new testament are jested at, and the scholars taught among other things to spell God backward…..

In Love’s Labour’s Lost ‘the school of atheism’ becomes, in the King of Navarre’s words…..

……The school of Night…..

……..and the blasphemy of writing…..

….God backward…

(…to produce…

….Dog….)

…..is satirised in an exchange between the educated infant, Moth….

……and Holofernes…..

MOTH

Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a,
b, spelt backward, with the horn on his head?

HOLOFERNES

Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.

MOTH

Ba, most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning.

Persons also wrote his Responsio later in November 1591…..

This was a reply to Elizabeth’s famous 1591……

……Declaration of Great Troubles Pretended against the Realm by a number of Seminary Priests and Jesuits…..

……written on 18th October, by Lord Burghley, but not published till November….

In the ‘Declaration’ the designs of Spain and Rome on England were exposed and it was asserted that….

………the Jesuits form the nests and lurking places of those who are in rebellion against [Elizabeth’s] person, that their General has  been to Spain and armed its King against her, that Parsons who taught amongst them and was the general of the English seminary at Rome has done the same and that the Jesuits as a Society has been the life and soul of the enemies which had been raised against England.

Persons/Parsons, replying to this personal attack, countered by describing Elizabeth as…….

……the defender of the Calvinian heresy….

…..and pointed out that King Philip of Spain……

philip_II

….. had saved her life when she had been imprisoned in the Tower by her half-sister, Mary Tudor……….

Mary Tudor

Persons claimed that Elizabeth’s Anglican priests were…..

…..the dregs of mankind….

…..whereas the young Catholic missionaries, who were accused by Elizabeth of being traitors, were often from noble English families.

Persons chose as his text……

……And I saw a woman drunk with the blood of saints and the blood of martyrs of Jesus.

The events of the next month were to suggest Persons was right……

On 10th December, Swithin Wells….

wells swithin

……a great friend of the Southampton family who had taught at Titchfield…..

…… had recruited Catholic missionary priests…..

…..was hanged outside the Southampton family home in London….

…..together with Edmund Genings…..NPG D25344,Edmund Geninges,by M. Bas

……a young man who had been fast-tracked to a priesthood at Rheims…..

……who was also drawn and quartered…..

hanged drawn and quartered

At Genings’s hearing……….

…..to make him a scoffe to the people………..

…….the authorities had………..

………….vested him again, not with his priestly garments, but (almost as King Herod and Pilates soldiers did our Saviour) with a ridiculous  fool’s coat, which they found in Mr. Wells his house, and when they had so altered him, they laughing told him, he was more fit in that attire to be presented to the Queen for a jester, then to a Nun for a Confessor.

The Shakespeare Code believes that it was this incident that caused Shakespeare to describe the Catholic martyrs in Sonnet 124 as……

………..the fools of time,
Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.

See: Shakespeare in Italy

But there was another Jesuit missionary who also had a profound effect on Shakespeare…..

……..whom he describes as his…..

…….loving cousin, W.S……

He  influenced Shakespeare’s imagery, vocabulary and thought.

He was Robert Southwell.

Robert_Southwell

[See Shakespeare, the Earl and the Jesuit (2008) a brilliant book by the distinguished American Shakespeare scholar, John Klause.]

In 1587 Southwell wrote his Epistle of Comfort for the wife of Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel…..

philip howard earl of arundel

…….a Catholic convert who from 1585 had been under sentence of death in the Tower.

In it Southwell writes about the glory of martyrdom…..

……BUT HE DOES NOT ATTACK ELIZABETH PERSONALLY….

He writes:

Then as regards to the Queen (to whom I have never done nor wished any evil) I have daily prayed for her and now with all my heart do pray that from his great mercy, through the wounds and most worthy merits of Christ his son, He may grant that she may use the ample gifts and endowments wherewith He has endowed her to the immortal glory of her name, the prosperity of the whole nation and the eternal welfare of her whole soul and body……

Southwell also responded to Elizabeth’s 1591 Declaration with……..

…..An Humble Supplication to Her Majesty………..

……..never published, but circulated in manuscript.

 Southwell makes the same point about the Anglican clergy that Persons made…..

…..that though the Catholic priests numbered only one tenth of the Protestant priests, they had….

……….happily more gentlemen than in all the other clergy of the whole realm.

He vividly describes the torture Elizabeth’s officers use……….

……sleep deprivation and mutilation of….

………….those parts that it is almost a torture for Christian ears to hear it. Let it then be judged what it was to chaste and modest men to endure it the shame being no les offensive to their mind than the pain, though most excessive to their bodies.

But, unlike Persons, Southwell firmly believed that Elizabeth was opposed to such cruelties herself. He addressed the Queen with…. 

…..the most formal respect, acknowledging her as an anointed sovereign, and presenting his arguments as if she knew nothing of the barbarous treatment ordered by her ministers.

He called her…….

………most merciful Princess………

……and made a direct, personal appeal to her……..

……gracious self……………….

……to bring her back to Catholicism.

In Love’s Labour’s Lost Shakespeare, like Southwell, gives Elizabeth the benefit of the doubt.

The Princess of France is not a sadist…..

…..drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

She is simply morally compromised by her pursuit of fame.

She kills deer because she wants to be recognised as a skilled hunter.

We have seen how

…..the poor deer……..

……which is spelt…..

……the poore Deare…

…..in the 1599 Quarto version of the play…

 

princess's speech quarto love's labour's lost. 001 (2)

…..can symbolise…..

(1) …the literal deer which Elizabeth slew on her Progresses….

…and….

(2) ….the men who are ‘slain’ by the beauty of Elizabeth.

…..as the song in the Cowdray Progress demonstrates….

See Part Two

But it is the view of The Shakespeare Code that there are……

 …….THREE MORE CODED MEANINGS TO ‘DEARE’!!!

……MEANINGS THAT ONLY A ROMAN CATHOLIC WOULD HAVE SPOTTED!!!

FIRST, THOUGH, WHAT WAS THE ‘FAME’ THAT QUEEN ELIZABETH SOUGHT?

Elizabeth once discussed her posthumous fame – her legacy – with her ladies-in-waiting…………..

elizabeth with laidies-in-waiting.

…..and said on the subject of her epitaph:

I am no lover of pompous title, but only desire that my name may be recorded in a line or two, which shall briefly express my name, my virginity, the years of my reign, the reformation of religion under it, and my preservation of peace.

And the inscription on her actual tomb begins with:

Sacred to memory: Religion to its primitive purity restored….

So the fame that Elizabeth most earnestly sought was as the reformer of religion…..

Tomb of Queen Elizabeth

 ………and it was this longing….

……for praise, an outward part….

…….that caused her to….

….spill

The poore Deare’s blood….

So what or who was the ‘poore Deare’?

MEANING (3).

In August 1581, Robert Persons was working as a missionary in England, disguised as a soldier.

He wrote:

It is the custom of the Catholics themselves to take to the woods and thickets, to ditches and holes even, for concealment, when their houses are broken into at night.

Sometimes when we are sitting at table quite cheerfully, conversing familiarly about matters of faith or piety…it happens that someone rings at the front door a little more insistently than usual, so he can be put down as an official.

Immediately, like deer that have heard the voice of hunters and prick their ears and become alert, all stand to attention and stop eating and command themselves to God in the briefest of prayers; no word or sound of any sort is heard  until the servants report what is the matter….

The deer as an image of  Roman Catholics was an old one….

…….as can be seen in one of Rome’s earliest basilicas…….

……..of deers drinking from the waters of spiritual truth…..

deer drinking water

…….in reference to Psalm 41………

…As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee……..

So spilling….

…..the poore Deare’s blood….

…..is a reference to Elizabeth’s bloody execution of Catholic Martyrs…..

….the fools of time….

…..like Wells and Genings.

MEANING (4).

When John Dryden……

John Dryden portrait...National Portrait Gallery handout of a newly-discovered painting of John Dryden, the first Poet Laureate, which went on public show at the gallery today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 15, 2009. The oil is believed to have been painted when Dryden was appointed in 1668, to celebrate the creation of the post. It was painted by Charles II's court artist Michael John Wright and was bought by the NPG for 225,000, with help from The Art Fund charity, which donated 45,000. See PA story ARTS Dryden. Photo credit should read: National Portrait Gallery/PA Wire

….. recorded his conversion to Catholicism, he did so in a poem entitled…..

The Hind and the Panther…………

….where….

A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged

………represented the Catholic Church…….

…….. and the  panther, the Church of England.

Dryden was drawing on a on a long tradition of equating the deer with Christianity…….

………..which before the reformation meant only Catholicism.

So spilling….

…..the poore Deare’s blood….

….can also mean destroying the Roman Catholic Church….

….which is exactly what Elizabeth intended to do.

MEANING (5).

But the deer was also thought to kill snakes….

stag killing snake

It miraculously drew them out of holes with its breath…..

 

stag drawing serpent breath of its nostrils

……and trampled them underfoot.

So the deer was also an image of Christ himself….

…..(destroying the Devil and all his works)….

…..and often appeared with a crucifix between his horns……

saint eustace with deer

George Herbert……

george herbert

………born the year after the premiere of Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

……in his great poem Love….

Lover bade me welcome

But my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin……….

……uses the phrase………..

……..my dear……..

….when he is addressing Christ….

…..and this equation of the deer and Christ has its roots in the Christianised interpretation of The Song of Solomon…..

My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young dear….

So when the Princess of France….

….spills the poore Deare’s blood….

…..it can also refer to Elizabeth’s re-crucifying Christ himself……

….. when she kills his Catholic followers…..

……and tries to destroy the Old Faith….

We can never know how many Catholics in Shakespeare’s audience picked up these coded references…..

……but they seem to have been forgotten by the time the First Folio was published in 1623…..

….or deliberately suppressed after the Catholic Gunpowder Plot.

Here the spelling of…..

…..Deare….

….is changed back to its more usual spelling…..

….Deere…..

princess speech folio love's labour's 001

By then, Catholicism in Britain was seen as a lost cause….

ENVOI

Robert Southwell was himself arrested the month after the first performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  

Topcliffe tortured  him ten times, then hanged him in 1595.

He had intended to draw and quarter him alive as well: but Southwell cut a figure of such dignity and bravery on the scaffold that the crowd, led by Charles Blount, recently created Lord Mountjoy, insisted that Southwell be hanged till he was dead.

Some accounts say Mountjoy – who played Longaville in the play…..

See: ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ revisited: Aristocratic Actors.

…..pulled on Southwell’s legs himself.

If Mountjoy was in the crowd, it is highly likely that Southwell’s ‘loving cousin, W.S.’ was there as well.

Southwell prayed for the Queen on the scaffold.

We don’t know if he still believed that Elizabeth was unaware of the tortures that Topcliffe inflicted: but he would have been horrified by the letter about him Topcliffe sent to the Queen in June, 1592, for her….

…. pleasure.

He describes how Southwell would be manacled at the wrists….

…….his feet standing upon the ground and his hands, but as high as he can reach against the wall. It will be as though he were dancing a trick or a figure at trenchmore.

Trenchmore was a lively dance….

trenchmore

THE END

 

 Brothers and Sisters of the Code might be interested in reading:

‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’: The Background.
‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’: The Original Cast.
‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’: Aristocratic Actors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code…

It is with tearful pride that…

….Stewart Trotter….

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….Trixie the Cat….

Trixie

…the MYSTERIOUS Tom ‘X’….

tom X

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…announce that…

….on Friday, 25th September, 2015….

The Shakespeare Code…

…..received its….

200,000th View!!!

Thanks to all our Honoured Subscribers and Readers…

…..spread throughout the Globe…..

…..IN TWO HUNDRED DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!!!

IN VINCULIS INVICTUS

Clare Shepherd writes…..

Well done, Stewart. I do hope you are thinking of writing another book, as you little volume lives with my Shakespeare volumes. I may have to get a new copy soon, as the old one is getting a bit battered from frequent use. I love your blog. Thanks for keeping it going.

Stewart Trotter replies….

Thank you for your inspiring comments, Clare.  They are much appreciated.

It’s best to read Part One first…..

4.  THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE…….

……is a Calvinist…..

……who believes in pre-destination….

The Forester says to her:

Nothing but fair is that which you inherit……

…and the Princess replies……

See, see my beauty will be saved by merit!

O heresy in fair, fit for these days!

A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise.

The heresy referred to is a Roman Catholic one.

The Catholics believed that good works – including charity – were one of the ways to salvation……..

…..but Calvinists believed that good works…..

….a giving hand….

….could NOT save you from Hell.

You could only enter heaven if you were one of God’s….

…..elect…

QUEEN ELIZABETH………

….like the Princess of France….

…..was  a Calvinist…..

She had been taught the doctrines of Calvin, by her stepmother, Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Katherine Parr.

katherine parr 2

When Elizabeth’s half-sister, Mary Tudor….

Mary Tudor

…..had locked her in the Tower, she prayed to God top release her.

When God, in her mind, not only released her……

….. but made her Queen of England as well…..

……she was convinced that she was one of his ‘Elect’.

5. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE……

…..is handed a cross-bow……

…..and shoots deer from a stand erected in the park of the King of Navarre.

In reality, Queen Elizabeth would have used a cross-bow.

(In reality, Queen Elizabeth would have used a cross-bow.)

In doing this she admits that she must….

….play the murderer….

….and ponders the paradox that, although she is the embodiment of

….mercy……

….she is prepared to take a helpless creature’s life….

In these circumstances shooting…..

…… well……

…..and killing the deer is judged to be morally

…….ill…….

……because the deer dies.

The Princes says:

But come, the bow: now mercy goes to kill,

And shooting well is then accounted ill.

She wants to be considered a good shot….

….so has her excuses ready if she fails to kill the deer.

(1) If  she doesn’t hit the deer at all……

……it was pity that stopped her from doing so…..

(2) If she wounds the deer, but does not kill it……

……it was because she would rather be praised for her shooting skills than any wish to see the deer dead.

Thus will I save my credit in the shoot:

Not wounding, pity would not let me do’t;

If wounding, then it was to show my skill,

That more for praise than purpose meant to kill.

She then goes on to explain that a desire for glory can lead people to perform dark actions that other people hate….

…..when for the sake of fame, for the praise of others, for external approval….

….we ignore our instinctive, human sympathies.

And out of question so it is sometimes,

Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,

When, for fame’s sake, for praise, an outward part,

We bend to that the working of the heart.

The Princess admits that it is this need for praise which drives her to spill the blood of the deer…

….with whose plight she begins to empathise……

…..and to whom she  feels no animosity….

As I for praise alone now seek to spill

The poor deer’s blood, that my heart means no ill.

Boyet criticises………….

……and eroticises………..

….. the Princess’s hunting by comparing her to shrewish wives who also crave praise for dominating their husbands….

(Death and blood could be Elizabethan symbols for orgasm and semen)

princess 7

Do not curst wives hold that self-sovereignty

Only for praise sake, when they strive to be

Lords o’er their Lords…

But  the Princess defends female dominance over men..

…..praise we may afford

To any Lady that subdues a Lord.

NOTE

In other of his poems and plays, Shakespeare introduces characters who are HIGHLY CRITICAL of hunting……..

…….and empathise  with the suffering of the animals.

In Venus and Adonis…….

Venus and Adonis

…….Venus begs her young lover Adonis not to hunt the dangerous boar….

… but to hunt the harmless hare instead….

But as the poem goes on, Venus argues against herself.

She begins to sympathise with the terror of the hare, ‘Poor Wat’….

And when thou [Adonis] hast on foot the purblind hare,
Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles
How he outruns the wind and with what care
He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles:
The many musets through the which he goes
Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes…..

By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill,
Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,
To harken if his foes pursue him still:
Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;
And now his grief may be compared well
To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell…..

There is also a celebrated description of the death of a deer in As You Like It…

 Duke Senior says:

Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
Should, in their own confines, with forked heads
Have their round haunches gor’d.

The First Lord replies….

To-day my Lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind Jacques as he lay along
Under an oak whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood!
To the which place a poor sequest’red stag,
That from the hunter’s aim had ta’en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and, indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav’d forth such groans
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
Cours’d one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on th’ extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.

Most Elizabethan men – especially aristocrats – were addicted to hunting……

They couldn’t wait to leave smelly, noisy London and get back to their estates….

But even though Shakespeare was a country-man……

……and his father a butcher as well as a glover…….

…….it seems Shakespeare himself was deeply disturbed by the wounding and killing of animals.

 

QUEEN ELIZABETH………

…like the Princess of France…..

……also shot deer, with a cross-bow, from specially erected stands…….

……..both at Titchfield…….

Titchfield_Abbey_Hampshire_addition_c1538

……where the Groom of the Chamber had been instructed to build……

…..two standings for her Majesty…..

…..and at Cowdray…..Cowdray Castle

……the estate of Mary Southampton’s father, Viscount Montague……

…… which Queen Elizabeth also visited on her 1591 Progress.

The deer were rounded up and run before her into a small enclosure…..

…a degraded form of hunting devised by her father, Henry VIII….

henry VIII 2.

….when he grew too fat to ride a horse…

At Cowdray music had accompanied the slaughter….

 ….a delicate bower…

…….had been prepared to house…

….her Highnesse musicians….

….(the dark-skinned Bassano family, which included Aemilia…..

….. who was shortly to become the ‘Dark Lady of the Sonnets’…)

A nymph…..

……(possibly the mixed-race Aemilia)

…..handed Elizabeth a decorated crossbow…..

…..just as the Princess in the play is handed one before her ‘Now mercy goes to kill’ speech….

[Note: Queen Elizabeth left this bow at Cowdray as a memento of her visit.

It is The Code’s belief that it was THIS VERY BOW that was used in the production of Love’s Labour’s Lost at Titchfield.

Everyone would recognise that the bow presented to the Princess in the play…..

…..when she says….

……..but come, the bow….

 …..was the bow presented to Queen Elizabeth at Cowdray.]

The nymph in the entertainment then sang…..

….a sweet song….

….which eroticises the hunt….

….as Boyet does in Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

Goddess and monarch of this happy Isle,

Vouchsafe this bow which is an huntress part ;

Your eyes are arrows though they seem to smile

Which never glanced but galled the stateliest heart [hart],

Strike one, strike all, for none at all can fly,

They gaze you in the face although they die.

‘Strike one, strike all’ is a reference to the Southampton family motto….

…..to be found on the family tomb at St. Peter’s Church in Titchfield….

st. peter's titchfield

Une par tout…..

…One for all….

tomb coat of arms

So young Harry Southampton……

tomb henry wriothesley

….. was certainly in attendance.

It was HIS……

…stateliest heart…

…that the song refers to…….

….. because he was being set up by his family as a future ‘favourite’ of Elizabeth….

 As in Love’s Labour’s Lost, the song equates images of hunting and death…..

….with falling in love and orgasm….

They gaze you in the face although they die….

It suggests that Elizabeth’s beauty is so great that men will reach a sexual climax just by the act of looking at her!

Elizabeth shot four deer at Cowdray…..

……..but Lord Montague’s sister had the temerity to shoot one as well.

For her impertinence she was denied a place at dinner that night…

AT HER OWN BROTHER’S TABLE!!!

Later in the week the Queen…..

….viewing my Lord’s walks…..

….. came across a Pilgrim…

…clad in a coat of russet velvet….his hat being of the same, with scallop shells of cloth of silver…

Hailing the Queen as…

…fairest of all creatures…

…he tells her of a marvellous oak tree hung with ornaments.

She follows  him and finds the tree hung with her own arms and the arms of all the….

Noblemen and gentlemen of that Shire….

A wild man appears and compares the mighty oak to Elizabeth, protected by her noblemen and gentlemen.

Abroad the Queen’s courage has made her feared: but at home it is her….

….clemency….

…which…

…the owner of this grove hath tasted….that hath made her loved……..

Montague had joined the Rebellion of the  Catholic Northern Lords against Elizabeth in 1569…..

…..but instead of chopping off his head, Elizabeth had made him a Lord Lieutenant…….

So, Montague’s entertainment for Elizabeth, like Love’s Labour’s Lost, acknowledges both the dark and light sides of Elizabeth……

……her delight in killing………

…..(once, in 1574, she had slaughtered 27 deer IN A SINGLE DAY at Berkley Castle)

berkeley castle

But also her mercy in pardoning Lord Montague’s life……

…..mercy which was in short supply in the months leading up to the first production of Love’s Labour’s Lost…

 To read Part Three, the conclusion,

Click: HERE!

 

 

THE SHAKESPEARE CODE PROUDLY PRESENTS A THREE-PART SERIES…

…. DEMONSTRATING THAT THE CHARACTER OF THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE IN ‘LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST ‘

Michelle Terry as the Princess of France.

Michelle Terry as the Princess of France.

…….IS BASED ON QUEEN ELIZABETH…..

ditchley Elizabeth

THE SERIES WILL CULMINATE IN A TOTALLY NEW DECODING OF THE PRINCESS’S ‘MERCY GOES TO KILL’ SPEECH….

mkercy goes to kill

…AND WILL REVEAL IT COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN FULLY UNDERSTOOD BY ROMAN CATHOLICS!!!

PART ONE

The Shakespeare Code believes….

(A) ….that the original AUDIENCE of Love’s Labour’s Lost was composed largely of aristocrats…

(B) ….that the original CAST was composed largely of aristocrats….

(C) ….that the play was first performed in the grounds of Place House….

place house recon.

…..the stately home of Mary Browne, 2nd Countess of Southampton….

Mary Browne

…..at Whitsun, 1592…

(E. A Honigmann…….

e.a.j. honnigmann

……the distinguished Shakespearean scholar, agrees with a 1592 date)

See Love’s Labour’s Lost Revisited: the Background

Love’s Labour’s Lost: The Original Cast

Love’s Labour’s Lost: Aristocratic Actors

Love’s Labour’s Lost: Penelope Rich plays the Princess

So, the odds are…..

…… ALMOST EVERYONE….

…. involved in the first Love’s Labour’s Lost production would have had personal contact with Queen Elizabeth…..

…..and ALMOST EVERYONE…….

….would have seen, at a glance, the similarities between the character of the Princess of France….

……and QUEEN ELIZABETH HERSELF!!!

The ‘1598’ Quarto Version of the play…..

love's cover

……has the direction….

….Enter the Princesse of Fraunce, with three attending Ladies and three Lordes….

….but when the Princess first speaks, her speech-heading is…..

Queene…

Love's Queen 1 001

She reverts to being a

Princ.

…..for the rest of the scene…..

But whenever she speaks again in the play, she is a Quee…

Love's Queen 2 001

Jaquenetta the wench, Holofernes the pedant and King Ferdinand of Navarre all refer to her as a ‘queen’ in their speeches.

In the unconscious of both William Shakespeare and the compositor….

THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE WAS QUEEN ELIZABETH HERSELF!!!

THESE POSTS WILL TABULATE THE SIMILARITIES….

(1) THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE…….

…..with all her entourage, both female and male, arrives at the Court of the King of Navarre…..

princess 1

….. on what is both a social visit and a diplomatic mission…..

About surrender up of Aquitaine

To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father….

The Princess is in a man’s world…..

The King has made a vow to study for three years with his male friends…..

….and has banned all women from his court….

But the Princess takes total charge of the situation:

Tell him, the daughter of the King of France,

On serious business, craving quick dispatch,

Importunes personal conference with his grace:

Haste, signify so much; while we attend,

Like humble-visage suitors his high will.

….and more than  holds her own in political debate with the King of Navarre…

princess with king

You do the king my father too much wrong

And wrong the reputation of your name,

In so unseeming to confess receipt

Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.

QUEEN ELIZABETH…..

…like the Princess….

….. had arrived, with all her entourage, at Place House in Titchfield….

…..ONLY EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE THE PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY THERE!!!

Though spun as social events, Elizabeth’s visits were always highly political as well…..

The Southampton family would be forced to leave their house so the Privy Council could meet there…..

place house 2

….and the house itself searched for signs of Roman Catholic…

…massing….

Top of the Titchfield agenda would have been the matter of the marriage of Mary Southampton’s son, Henry Wriothesely, 3rd Earl of Southampton.

henry wriothesley miniature

Lord Burghley…….

burghley on donkey 001

……the Third Earl’s guardian…..

…..wanted Harry to marry his grand-daughter…..

….Lady Elizabeth de Vere….

Elizabeth_de_Vere

….but at the time Harry wasn’t interested in girls.

Letters to Burghley show that both Countess Mary…..

….. and her father, Anthony Browne, First Viscount Montague….

anthony browne, first viscount montague.

…..were on Burghley’s side….

(They faced a gigantic £5,000 fine if Harry didn’t marry Elizabeth)

Mary had even commissioned Shakespeare to write 17 Sonnets for her son’s seventeenth birthday which lauded the joys of married love…..

Sonnets she could show to the Queen herself….

….to prove her loyalty….

(See: Trixie the Cat’s Guide to the Birthday Sonnets.)

This was a particularly important thing to do as Mary had been reported to the Privy Council for harbouring Catholic Priests in her London home.

(2) THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE…..

 ……is flattered by her sycophantic courtier, Boyet….

 boyet flattering princess

….who says to the Princess….

Be now as prodigal of all dear grace

As Nature was in making graces dear

When she did starve the general world beside

And prodigally gave them all to you.

The Princess claims not to like flattery……

Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean

Needs not the painted flourish of your praise….

But when the Forester says to her….

Hereby upon the edge of yonder coppice,

A stand where you may make the fairest shoot….

….she transforms it into a personal compliment….

….and replies….

I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot

And thereupon thou speak’st the fairest shoot…

When the Forester sticks to his guns…..

Pardon me madam for I meant not so…..

……the Princess takes her revenge….

……by FORCING a compliment out of him!

Yes, madam, fair…..

The Princess is FURIOUS when Costard, the clown, tells her she is plumper than her ladies-in-waiting….

An your waist, mistress, was as slender as my wit,

One o’these maids’ girdles for your waist should be fit….

She is also AMBIVALENT about her ladies-in-waiting themselves…..

She enjoys their company and their wit….

Well bandied both, a set of wit well played….

But needs to call the shots….

Good wits will be jangling but gentles, agree

This war of wits were better used on Navarre and his bookemen…

Here ’tis abused…..

princess with ladies

She needs to outshine and mock her ladies…..

God bless my ladies! Are they all in love,

That every one her own hath garnished

With such bedecking ornaments of praise?

And hates it when she learns Berowne has sent a love-letter to the dark-skinned Rosaline….

rosaline nina 1.

She tries to humiliate Rosaline by getting Boyet to read it aloud to the group….

(But the plan misfires as the letters have been swapped)

Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting, Maria, is forced to wear plain white…..

…. so that the Princess will dazzle all the more in her colours…

QUEEN ELIZABETH…….

……like the Princess…….

……CLAIMED to dislike flattery…..

…..and once walked out of a fulsome masque, stating……

If I had known that so much was to be said about me I would not have been here……

But all her life she’d had strings of favourites…..

….. and courtiers whose full-time job it was to praise her beauty.

At the time of Love’s Labour’s Lost she was almost sixty….

old elizabeth

…….but she had a lover half her age…..

…….her Master of Horse, Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex……

essex young beardeless

…….who, The Code argues, was at the first performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost at Titchfield……

…….watching his sister Penelope Rich…….

penelope rich

…….play the rôle of the Princess….

(See: Penelope Rich plays the Princess of France.)

Six months earlier Essex had been at the siege of Rouen….….

siege rouen

….fighting alongside the ‘real’ King of Navarre, Henri……..

henri of navarre

To celebrate Elizabeth’s Accession Date (17th November) Essex challenged the Mayor of Rouen to a joust to decide which of their mistresses was the more beautiful…..

The Mayor had bluntly replied:

……as to the beauty of their mistresses it was scarcely worth his while to put himself to much trouble about that…..

But Essex, writing from Dieppe, flattered the aging Queen…..

…..who was very much his meal-ticket.

He described her…

….perfections…..

…and declared that when he returned from war….

…..the two windows of your privy chamber shall be the poles of my sphere, where, as long as your majesty will please to have me, I am fixed and unmovable. When your Majesty thinks that heaven too good for me, I will not fall like a star, but be consumed like a vapour by the same sun that drew me up to such a height…..

Elizabeth’s godson, Sir John Harington…….

sir john harington

…..observed…..

No-one who waited in Queen Elizabeth’s court, and observed anything, but could tell that it pleased her much to be thought and told that she looked young……

Queen Elizabeth had seven Ladies of the Bedchamber, six maids of honour, and four chamberers…..

…..all SEVENTEEN of whom would appear with her when she appeared in public.

She enjoyed this young female companionship in what was basically the man’s world of the court…..

(All older intelligent, attractive women – like the Countess of Pembroke…..

NPG 5994; Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke by Nicholas Hilliard

….or Leicester’s wife, Lettice Knollys….

lettice knollys

….had been banished from it.)

But Elizabeth wanted to be the centre of attention……

….and she wanted to be in control…..

Harington remarked:

I could relate many pleasant tales of her Majesty outwitting the wittiest ones; for few knew how to aim their shaft against her cunning.

Like the Princess of France, she often dressed her ladies-in-waiting in white (and black) so she would stand out the more.

Once Lady Howard, who was much smaller than the Queen, had a colourful border sewn onto her dress…..

…so Elizabeth seized the dress and wore it……

…..claiming it was too SHORT for her….

…..and too GRAND for Lady Howard.

She hated it if any of her courtiers made love to her ladies-in-waiting…..

….WITHOUT HER KNOWLEGE AND CONSENT…

…..and often abused the women, both verbally and physically.

She would scream at them and hit them…..

….and on one occasion actually broke a lady-in-waiting’s finger…..

3. THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE……

…. constantly belittles men.

men looking idiotic

She mocks their attempts at wit…

Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow…..

…..and mocks their sex drive…..

sex drive men

…..which, she believes, completely overpowers their reason….

Why, will [the penis] shall break it [the vow of chastity]; will and nothing else.

A  man with an erect penis is an object of mockery to the Princess….

princess foot on crutch

She talks about the King of Navarre’s…..

….high will…..

….and accuses him of having a…….

….mounting mind……

Boyet even entertains the Princess with a coded description of the erection the King experiences when he first claps eyes on her….

princess 6

[Note: For the Elizabethans, all the features of ‘the face’ could apply equally to the genital area. So

…eye(s)..

…could imply the testicles/penis….]

Why, all his behaviours did make their retire

To the court of his eye [penis], peeping thorough desire:

His heart, like an agate, with your print impress’d,

Proud [erect] with his form, in his eye pride [sexual desire] express’d:

As the Princess predicts, their craving for sex causes the men to forswear their vows of chastity….

….and when the Princess and her ladies discover that the men plan to woo them disguised as Russians…..

men as russians

…..the ladies mask themselves and change favours…

…..SIMPLY TO HUMILIATE THEM!!!

The Princess says:

There’s no such sport as sport by sport o’erthrown,

To make theirs ours and ours none but our own:

So shall we stay, mocking intended game,

And they, well mock’d, depart away with shame.

At one point Berowne is worried that the Princess intends to castrate him.

He says to her:

Our states are forfeit. Seek not to undo us….

‘Undoing’ was a technical term in hunting……..

….when the ‘Chief Man’ cut off the……

…..coddes……

…..the testicles of the slaughtered deer…….

…..a delicacy at table.

QUEEN ELIZABETH…..

…like the Princess of France….

……constantly humiliated men and undermined their masculinity…..

In the early days of her reign, her relationship with her lover, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester……

dudley young

…….had been a struggle for mastery…..

She had famously said to him…..

…..I will have here but one mistress and no master….

…..and in 1586, when Leicester was made Governor General of the Netherlands without Elizabeth’s permission, she had said to her Council:

…..I will let the upstart know how easily the hand which has exalted him can beat him down to the dust.

Leicester and Elizabeth dancing.

Leicester and Elizabeth dancing.

Leicester had died in 1588…..

…..but Elizabeth had perpetuated this sado-masochistic form of love-affair with Essex…..

…..who once wrote to her….

Madam, The delights of this place cannot make me unmindful of one in whose sweet company I have joyed as much as the happiest man doth in his highest contentment; and if my horse could run as fast as my thoughts do fly, I would as often make mine eyes rich in beholding the treasure of my love, as my desires do triumph when I seem to myself in a strong imagination to conquer your resisting will.

For a long time Elizabeth had refused to grant Essex’s greatest desire……

…….to win fame and glory by fighting the Catholic League in Europe….

He had to kneel in front of her for TWO HOURS before she would agree…..

…..and then she emasculated the highly sexed Essex….

….(whose wife and mistress had both produced baby boys for him in 1591)….

 ….by insisting that he kept well away from any fighting.

And Elizabeth went one further than the Princes of France.

As ‘Chief Man’ of the hunt, she would regularly….

……..CASTRATE THE DEER SHE HAD SHOT!!!

And here she is, knife ALMOST in hand……

 

elizabeth castrating

•••

TO READ PART TWO…..

…….WHICH DEALS WITH THE QUEEN’S CALVINISM AND HER DEER HUNTING……

CLICK: HERE!

A Statement from Head Office.

Brothers and Sisters of the Shakespeare Code….

You will know that in her last vibrant Trixposé….

Trixie the Cat….

Trixie

…..advised the producers of the Cumberbatch ‘Hamlet’….

cumberbatch hamlet

….to put the……

To be or not to be

…..soliloquy….

BEFORE rather than AFTER…

Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I

…which follows the arrival of the Players….

IT WOULD SEEM, FROM MICHAEL BILLINGTON’S REVIEW IN THE GUARDIAN….

….THAT THE PRODUCERS HAVE DONE JUST THAT!!!

THEY HAVE FOLLOWED THE CAT!!!

Here is part of Billington’s review:

“To be or not to be”, about which there has been so much kerfuffle, mercifully no longer opens the show: I still think it works better if placed after, rather than before, the arrival of the players, but Cumberbatch delivers it with a rapt intensity.

Brava, Trixie the Cat!!!

Your saucer will run over….

To read Trixie’s piece, please click: HERE!

STOP PRESS!!!

And here is Paul Taylor’s review in the Independent….

The “To be, or not to be” soliloquy that he prematurely delivered at this point in the early previews has been restored to Act 3, though ahead of where it usually comes.

A Trixposé

FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

Trixie

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code….

There can be few Shakespeareans round the globe who are UNAWARE that Benedict Cumberbatch…..

benedict cumberbatch

……famed for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes….

 cumberbatch deerstalker

……is currently playing Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, in London…..

cumberbatch hamlet

The play is currently in preview – and opens to the Press on Tuesday, 25th August, 2015……

HOWEVER….

…..the Times broke the critical embargo…..

…..and sent along one Kate Malby……

kate malby

……critic AND academic….

….. to cover the first preview.

She reported – in horror – that Hamlet’s soliloquy…..

To Be or not to Be……

…. had been moved from Act Three to the very beginning of the play…..

….described this as….

…indefensible…..

…..and awarded the production only two stars….

Tony Award-winning director, John Tiffany….

john tifanny

(No, Your Cat had never heard of him either)

….attacked Maltby in the Observer for…..

….moralising….

…and criticised her….

….lack of understanding of what previews are for….

Maltby went onto BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the morning after the first preview to defend the Times’s decision to publish her review. She agreed it would be unfair to criticise energy and pace at such an early stage but criticising structural changes was justified.

 Since then more theatre folk have leapt from the woodwork to defend the play’s director, Lindsey Turner….

LindseyTurner

….declaring that young directors now feel more at liberty to change the structure of old plays…..

IN ANY WAY THEY LIKE…..

HOWEVER…..

….reports are coming in that the soliloquy has been restored to….

…..it’s rightful place….

…..in Act Three….

BUT YOUR CAT HAS NEWS FOR EVERYONE!!!

THERE IS NO RIGHTFUL PLACE FOR ‘TO BE OR NOT TO BE’!!!!

The very first version of Hamlet that we now have is the 1603 Quarto….

1603 Hamlet

…..known as the Bad Quarto….

In the last century academics came up with the bizarre theory that this version was put together from memory by a bunch of actors….

…and that’s why it’s full of….

…mistakes…

Bletchley Code Breaker, Eric Sams…

sams ereic

…made short work of the….

…amnesiac actors theory….

After all……

THE ONE THING YOU CAN BE SURE OF IN ACTORS IS THAT THEY HAVE GOOD MEMORIES!!!

No, Thomas Heywood, Shakespeare’s contemporary, gives a vivid account of how plays were pirated by…

….stenographers…

…HIS WORD….

….who would stand in the pit and write down the words of the actors…..

In this Bad Quarto version, the ‘To Be or not to Be’ speech comes earlier than Act Three…..

It comes in what would be the equivalent of Act Two!!!

(The Bad Quarto, for obvious reasons, has no Act or Scene divisions.)

It comes BEFORE the…

Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I…..

…..soliloquy….

…..and NOT AFTER IT…..

…. as it does in the Second Quarto (1604/5)

1604 Hamlet

…..which represents Shakespeare’s ‘second thoughts’ about the play….

……and which forms the basis of our ‘standard’ Hamlet text.

In The Code’s view, the early positioning of the soliloquy is the better one…..

….and Stewart Trotter used this in his LAUDED 1982 production of the play at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter….

….starring the fabulous Anthony May as the Dane….

Anthony May, greatest Hamlet the world has known.

(The late B.A. Young, the distinguished theatre critic of the Financial Times, described Stewart’s ending of Hamlet as the best he had ever seen…)

In this earlier placing of the soliloquy, Hamlet enters…..

….in King Claudius’s words….

…poring upon a book…

This means that when Hamlet says….

To be or not to be…..

HE IS QUOTING FROM THE BOOK ITSELF!!!

He then responds with delight at the truth of this observation by declaring…..

….. in the 1603 version….

Aye, that’s the point…..

…and in the 1604 version….

…that is the question….

Lewis Fiander…..

lewis fiander

….the great Australian actor….

….once told Your Cat that he auditioned with this speech for the legendary Laurence, Lord Olivier….

lord olivier

Lewis entered from the wings reading a book….

…and when he said….

That is the question….

…he flung the book across the stage in an explosion of intellectual excitement….

Olivier’s reaction?

Baby, if I had seen you do this twenty years ago I would have stolen it….

Hamlet 1948 rŽal : Laurence Olivier Laurence Olivier Collection Christophel

Hamlet
1948
rŽal : Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Collection Christophel

‘Bye now….

Paw-Print smallest

Thanks for the kind words, Trixie.

Just to let Brothers and Sisters know that I’m hard at work on ‘The Princess of France (from Love’s Labour’s Lost) as Queen Elizabeth I.

Trix ‘n’ Tom are also busy decoding Shakespeare’s ‘Bath Sonnets’…..

ALL WILL BE REVEALED SOON!!!

Best wishes…..

…. and thanks for your Patronage…..

Stewart T.

TAILNOTE FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

The Independent newspaper has printed the following note from Stewart in its 25th August edition:

Hamlet in any order

Lyndsey Turner, the director of the Cumberbatch Hamlet, has every right to make “To be or not to be” a movable feast. It’s exactly what Shakespeare did himself.

The First Quarto of Hamlet (1603) places this speech before “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I” and the Second Quarto (1604/5) – the version now generally followed – after it. I prefer the earlier version as it allows Hamlet to enter “poring upon a book” – so “To be or not to be” becomes a quote from the book itself.

Stewart Trotter
London W9

Well done, Boss XXX

A SPECIAL REPORT from…..

Trixie

TRIXIE THE THEATRE CAT!!!

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code…

The Making of a King – Henry V 

…..opened on 24th June, 2015…..

 ……at the HISTORIC Great Barn in Titchfield, Hampshire….

(which was built at time of the Agincourt Campaign)

making preset

….to RAVES from the PRESS and the PUBLIC!!!

The DISTINGUISHED Theatre Critic, ED HOWSON…..

 …….writing in the HIGHLY PRESTIGIOUS Daily Echo…..

daily echo logo

….stated….

PRESENTED as one of the countrywide events celebrating the 600th anniversary of Agincourt, Stewart Trotter’s seamless adaptation of four plays (one anonymous and three by Shakespeare) all chronicling the life of Prince Harry and his accession to the throne as Henry V, was clearly a labour of love, and one which Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT) made the most of in director Kris Refevan’s traditional staging at The Great Barn, Titchfield.

On his impressive TFT debut, Chris Mills’ Prince Harry started out with the brashness of youth, drinking and whoring…..

M Hal drinking

….in the company of Kevin Fraser’s dissolute Falstaff……..

M Falstaff with bottle

…….growing into a warrior king leading his troops into battle……..

M King Henry in battle

…….while still finding time to woo the French Princess Katherine……..

M Henry with Princess

(another notable Titchfield debut by Lara Cooper-Chadwick)

As the rebellious Harry Hotspur, Joshua Coates turned in another fine performance………

M josh as hotspur

…..and with live period music throughout (Charles Wood)

…….the icing on the cake was Stewart Trotter’s own enjoyably clear narration as The Chorus”.

 stewart as chorus in making (2)

Thanks, Ed.

Trixie the Cat is in total agreement!!!

She would add mention of the vibrant, warm and sexy Hannah Wood who plays Doll Tearsheet…..

 ……harlot and mistress of ‘The Sow’s Head’ Tavern’ in Eastcheap…

M hannah as doll

 

…….who loves her clients as much as they love her!!!

M doll with Falstaff

 

And the delightful Toby Bennett……

M toby francis

…… in the role of Francis, the little orphan boy Doll has taken under her wing….

M Doll Tearsheet and Francis

 ….who mischievously pours salt into Falstaff’s sack….

M Falstaff and Francis

….and is taken off to war by Falstaff’s oafish side-kicks….

……Peto (John Boyle) and Bardolph (David Launder)…

(‘No need to pack, Francis. You can steal all you need in France’)

M Peto and bardolph

Francis, though, ends up dead as King Henry’s page at Agincourt…

M Henry with dead Francis

(‘I was not angry till I came to France/Until this instant’)

Your Cat’s eye was also drawn to Dan Cox as an utterly convincing Poins….

M Poins and Hal (2)

 …..wideboy, petty crook, alcoholic and louche friend of Prince Hal and Falstaff….

M poins with sack

Your Cat also noticed Samuel F. Bowers as the thuggish, swaggering sheriff….

…..who drops like a sycophantic stone when he encounters Prince Hal….

M drops like a stone

 

…..and David Lee as the dour, dark, guilt-ridden…

Sire of Harry, Henry IV….

M henry iv dave

….who, in the words of the play,…..

…..yearns for Holy War,

In part to honour sacred Jesu’s name….

But mostly to prop up his dubious reign…..

 After fights, reconciliations and more fights with his son, Prince Hal…..

M hal and henry IV with crown (2)

….Henry IV laughs himself to death at the trick the universe has played on him….

He was told he would die in Jerusalem……

…..and he took that to be the Middle East….

…..but it was the name of his bedchamber in Westminster!!!

M Death of Henry IV

And so I meet my end where I do lie;

In THIS Jerusalem doth Harry die…

What Your Cat LOVED about this version of the plays is that, again in its own words, it…..

Tells the tale of dissolute Prince Harry,

M dissolute

Who, more in love with taverns than with courts

M more in love with taverns

And constant comrade to a gross fat knight

M constant comrade to a gross fat knight

Transformed upon his father Henry’s death

M Hal the new king.

Into the star of England….

M into the star of England

….IN ONE SINGLE EVENING!!!

 We see just how painful it is for him to reject his outrageous, drunken old friend, Falstaff…..

M Hal's rejection of Falstaff

 

…..and to sign the warrant for Bardolph’s execution for stealing church property….

M warrant

We see him forging bonds with his father’s loyal old friend, the Earl of Westmoreland (Alan James)

M transformed upon his father henry's death

…and growing stronger in friendship and amity with his estranged brother, Prince John (Frank Hussey)…..

M brothers

For Your Cat, two of the highlights of the show were the hilarious ‘robbery’ at Gadshill….

M Bardolph and Peto and the robbers.

…where we see….

the robbers robbed….

M Falstaff Peto and Bardolph return from robbery.

….and Falstaff’s extempore drilling of a bunch of hopeless, raw recruits…..

M Falstaff with recruits. 2

Frankie Patterson as the wise, peace-loving Duchess of Burgundy…..

M Duchess of Burgundy

……knocks together the heads of the warring Kings of England and France at the end of the play…..

…..and it is a delight to see King Henry winning over the not TOO reluctant Princess of France…..

M kiss

Do you teach her English?

….asks the Duchess of Burgundy……

M teaches French (2)

No, she teaches me French!

….replies the King…..

The Making of a King shows Prince Henry, in battle, going through a dark night of the soul…..

…… when he begins to think all political power is meaningless.

But he throws himself into the hands of God….

M Henry in prayer

And God grants him victory at Agincourt….

M victory

 

All told The Making of a King is a celebration of England…..

…..and English values…..

…..which culminates, appropriately enough, in a joyous dance….

…..choreographed by Hannah Wood….

M falstaff dance (2)

 

The show was beautifully lit by Mike Andrews……

…. and brilliantly directed by the mysterious, reclusive Swede, Kris Refevan….

All the photographs from the show were taken by Rich Patterson.

Kevin Fraser, who plays the rip-roaring Falstaff, is also the Director of the WORLD-FAMOUS Titchfield Festival Theatre……..

kevin fraser

…..and I spoke to him backstage, after the show…..

…..as he struggled out of his padding…..

…..and sank exhausted into his chair.

That was great, Kevin….

I purred….

Kevin smiled and pointed wearily to a huge pile of papers on his dressing table…..

Look at these, Trixie….

….he said…..

I’ve been INUNDATED with e-mails!!!

Kevin picked up two at random and handed them to me….

Brothers and Sisters, I was so excited by what I read that I copied them in shortpaw…..

Here’s the first….

(No names, no pack drill!)

(1) Last evenings performance of Henry V – The Making of a King was magnificent. The comments I heard at the interval and at the end of the evening were very, very complimentary with two of my ladies, who are ardent Shakespeare “Groupies” who have been regulars at The Barbican and The Globe in London and of course at Stratford-upon- Avon, were so full of praise for your production. Please pass our congratulations and sincere thanks for a wonderful evening onto all members of the cast and back stage crew.

And here’s the second….

(2) How do you do it? I don’t often put pen to paper ( or keyboard to screen!) but what a whirlwind brilliant production. From start to finish we were all three enthralled. We were half expecting this to be a long evening, 4 plays in one – but what an experience. As usual we will spread the word. Fantastic! Pass on our best wishes to everyone who without fail made this a night to remember.

Kevin then told me, with an entrepreneurial smile, that the very moment the show opened…..

…. the Box Office went through the roof!!!

To celebrate, Kevin, the entire cast and crew and myself, then hot-pawed it down to the Queen’s Head in Titchfield….

queen's head titchfield

…..where, in the words of the play we all

Drank an English toast for Harry’s sake….

…and for the sake of the whole Titchfield Festival Theatre….

‘Bye now

Paw-Print smallest

To find out WHY the Box Office went through the roof….

Read the entire play by clicking: HERE!

The Rights of the play are now available….

PERHAPS TO YOUR COMPANY!!!

P.S Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code might also be interested in…

1. Why did Shakespeare write the King Henry plays? Click: HERE

2. The character of Falstaff. Click: HERE

3. Why Falstaff is fat. Click: HERE

P.P.S. The Code agents are busily at work on our next post……

‘The Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost as Queen Elizabeth’.

elizabeth castrating