Richard II
By William Shakespeare I Directed by Kathryn Walsh

Richard II is dangerously out of touch with his kingdom. He wastes money, raises taxes to support his lavish lifestyle, plays favorites and cares more about his vanity than the common good. When Henry Bolingbroke—father of the future Henry V—challenges Richard for the throne, it’s a fight the king can’t win. But in losing his crown he gains far greater things: his humanity and his soul. Shakespeare’s luminous, poetic masterpiece is the first of four plays that chronicle the House of Lancaster’s rise and the beginning of the Wars of the Roses.


Thursday, July 13, 7:30 p.m. (Preview/Monmouth Night)
Friday, July 14, 7:30 p.m. (Opening Night)
Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m. (Post-Show Discussion to Follow)
Wednesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 3, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 6, 1:00 p.m.
Friday, August 11, 7:30 p.m. (Closing Night)

 Production Team

Kathryn Walsh

Dan Bilodeau
Set Designer

Sydney Enthoven
Asst. Stage Manager

Jennifer Fok
Lighting Designer

Madelaine Foster
Props Supervisor

Dominique Nadeau
Stage Manager

Elizabeth Rocha
Costume Designer

Mandy Spartz
Asst. Stage Manager

Rew Tippin
Sound Designer

Sally Wood
Fight Director


A.J. Baldwin
Duchess of Gloucester, Northumberland, Exton

Christopher Blonski

Mark S. Cartier
John of Gaunt, Keeper

Rebecca Ho
Queen, Aumerle, Berkeley, Groom

Tracie Lane
York, Marshal, Bagot, Scroop

Christopher Joel Onken
Richard II

Michael Wood
Carlisle, Green, Ross, Salisbury, York’s Servant

Jaine Ye
Thomas Mowbray, Bushy, Willoughby, Percy, Duchess of York, Exton’s Servant

From The Director

A monarch’s speech is performative. In performative speech, when you say a thing, that speaking serves as the action, no follow up needed. Marriage vows are a great example: an officiant says “you are now married” and then, you are. The king’s power in an English medieval hereditary monarchy works much the same way: decrees become law. The king says a thing, and it becomes real. Nothing else is needed.

In practice, however, we know this not to be true. Even in marriage vows, the state has decided it has a vested interest in that status, and so, in reality, you have to sign a document before it becomes real in practice. Something with weight enough to affect the world.

In this play, Richard believes his language is the site of absolute authority. He has the power to make and unmake the world every time he opens his mouth. In practice, the people he rules have a say. Because his words and actions affect their lives, they take action to oppose him. And it turns out, in the face of action, his speech isn’t enough to resist them. Changing the world takes more than language — it needs actions, plans, allies, and support.

What’s so great about doing a play where the site of disagreement is “does speech really make things happen” is that, in every Shakespeare play, speech is what makes things happen. We make things real by speaking them into existence. Someone says, “What castle is this?” and suddenly, there’s a castle. Here’s a person, let’s call him “Richard” and see what happens next.

This company of artists are about to speak an old story into new existence—a story about the absolutely disastrous consequences of having one misguided man position himself above the rest of us, and make decisions for and about us, and how hard we have to work to undo that mistake. Since well before Shakespeare wrote this play, and many, many times since, a leader has failed to meet the needs of the moment, and each time, change requires that people put more than language on the line.