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Notes for the Programme of….

HENRY V

The Making of a King

making of a king

……Stewart Trotter’s adaptation of the anonymous Armada play The Famous Victories of Henry V, and William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Parts One and Two and King Henry V.

For more information about the production (24th June – 4th July, 2015) in the Great Barn, Titchfield, Hampshire, click: http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

Why did Shakespeare write the ‘King Henry’ Plays?

The Elizabethans saw history very differently from us….

For them, time was cyclical rather than linear……..

 

 

wheel of fortune

……and they believed that the same patterns in life came round again and again.

King James VI of Scotland…….

james nin 1595

…..writing in 1599, the same year as the first production of Henry V, gave this advice to his five year old son, Prince Henry…

Henry Prince of Wales when  an Infant

By reading of authentic histories and chronicles, you shall learn experience by theoric, applying the by-past things to the present estate, quia nihil nunc dici aut fieri, quod non dictum and factum fit prius [since nothing is said or spoken which has not been said or spoken before].

It is The Code’s belief that Shakespeare was also…….

….applying the by-past things to the present estate…….

…..when he wrote the King Henry plays……

And that Titchfield, in Hampshire, holds the key….

Hampshire.

Hampshire.

In his 2002 book – Love’s Labour’s Found…..

book cover

……Stewart Trotter first argued that William Shakespeare…..

shakespeare 1588

…. joined the aristocratic Southampton family in Titchfield in 1590…….

Reconstruction of Place House, Titchfield

Reconstruction of Place House, Titchfield

….. as what ‘Robert Greene’….

robert greene

…..in reality Thomas Nashe….

Thomas-Nashe

…..described as the rôle of……

…. fac totum…..

…..an entertainer, secretary, tutor, schoolmaster, resident poet and generally nice person to have around.

[See: ‘Shakespeare in Titchfield’.]

Theatre work was thin on the ground after the Armada.

Christopher Marlowe…..

Marlowe, Christopher

……and Thomas Kyd also joined aristocratic households as tutors.

But what made Shakespeare’s association with the Southamptons different was that Shakespeare came from a deeply Roman Catholic family…..

The Southamptons were also committed Catholics and had been part of the 1567 plot to oust Queen Elizabeth…….

elizabeth as virgin

…… and put Mary Queen of Scots….

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

…….on the throne of England.

Mary, 2nd Countess of Southampton……..

Mary Browne

…..commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen sonnets for the seventeenth birthday of her only son, Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton…….

tomb henry wriothesley

…….known as ‘Harry’ just as Prince Henry is in the play.

It was getting time for Harry to marry – but there was a problem. 

He wasn’t interested in girls……

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

……so Shakespeare’s sonnets were intended to introduce him to the joys of heterosexual love and fatherhood.

[See: ‘Trixie the Cat’s guide to the Birthday Sonnets.’]

This must have been the most counter-productive commission of all time.

Shakespeare became involved in the complicated emotional life of Harry and finally fell in love with him.

Harry was the……

….thee…..

….of……

……Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?…….

…….the greatest love poem ever written.

[See:‘Just how gay was the Third Earl of Southampton?’]

Harry gave Shakespeare the gift of £1,000 (the equivalent to £500,000 pounds today) and Shakespeare’s affair with him lasted into the reign of King James.

The Southamptons, mother and  son, were Shakespeare’s meal-ticket at a time when writers routinely starved to death.

So their interests automatically became his interests……

…..and the Southamptons  still wanted to get rid of Elizabeth.

They also wanted Mary Queen of Scot’s son, James VI of Scotland, to ascend the English throne. They thought he would give freedom of worship to Catholics.

Many people, in fact, thought he was a Catholic…

But it wasn’t only Catholics who wanted to get rid of Elizabeth……

Many Protestants did as well…….

…..people like Southampton’s great friend, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex……..

essex young beardeless

…..Lady Penelope Rich, Essex’s beautiful, politically-acute, dark-eyed sister….

penelope rich

……Charles Blount, later Eighth Baron Mountjoy, the married Penelope’s dashing lover…

charles blount

……and Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke…….

mary herbert countess of pembroke face

….. at Wilton which was only thirty miles away from Titchfield.

wilton house

This group of powerful people wanted to conquer Europe and start a British Empire.

But Elizabeth was having none of it…..

She wanted only to be the Protestant Queen of a Protestant island.

She thought the cult of martial chivalry – championed by the Countess of Pembroke’s dead brother, Sir Philip Sidney…….

 sidney philip

…….was a complete waste of time.

To make things worse, Elizabeth refused to name her successor…..

….. so many people feared that, on her death, England would revert to civil war.

Elizabeth hated it when people studied the past. She worried, rightly, that if people read history, they would make comparisons of other monarchs’ reigns to her own.

So when Raphael Holinshed….

raphael holinshed

……published his revised Chronicles in 1587…….

holinshed c. frontispiece

…….a copy of which Shakespeare had in his possession…….

…….and made doodles in….

holinshed - shakespeare's writing 001

…..Elizabeth had them…

…..called in…..

…. three years later on the spurious grounds that they were…..

…..fondly set out….

This was the cue for the theatre-loving Countesses of Southampton and Pembroke to strike…..

If people weren’t allowed to read history they could watch it acted out in the grounds of the stately homes of Titchfield and Wilton……

…..with all the aristocratic resources of men, horses and armour…..

….and women – often aristocratic women……

….. and often Lady Penelope Rich…….

penelope rich lambeth 2

…..to play the female parts……

[See: ‘Penelope Rich plays the Princess of France’. ]

Aemilia Lanyer……

…..Shakespeare’s and Harry Southampton’s fiery, artful, brilliant, mixed race girlfriend…..

…..would play the dark-skinned rôles……

……like Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost…..

rosaline nina 1.

……and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream…..hermia black

[See: ‘How Shakespeare’s Dark Lady found God.’]

These original productions would have looked something like present day re-enactments by THE SEALED  KNOT

sealed knot

Afterwards the plays would have been toured in cut down productions for the general public…..

…..with boys playing the part of women, on….

….unworthy scaffolds…

…..with…..

…..four or five most vile and ragged foils…..

These early history plays were written to demonstrate that when weak, vacillating Kings come to the throne, civil strife will follow.

Shakespeare shows that it  is right to depose them – however painful the process or how dire the consequences.

In The Making of a King we see how usurpation of King Richard II’s throne lies heavy on the soul of Bolingbroke….

But it paves the way for the more legal succession of his son, the heroic King Henry V….

And the audience, watching  the effeminate, petulant King Richard II…….

rylance richard II

…….would automatically have made comparisons with Elizabeth…….

…….a woman trying to dominate men in a men’s world.

tilbury, elizabeth in armour woodcut 001

Indeed, Richard II was staged at the Globe on the eve of the Essex rebellion against her rule.

Elizabeth herself then famously said, after Essex had been beheaded:

…..I am Richard II: know ye not that?

And it’s the rebellion of Essex that brings us right to the heart of The Making of a King.

When the Chorus describes how the citizens of London…..

…..pour out……

….. to greet King Henry V on his return from Agincourt, Shakespeare has given him lines that are invariably cut because they are so topical:

As, by a lower but loving likelihood,
Were now the general of our gracious empress,
As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
Bringing rebellion broached on his sword,
How many would the peaceful city quit,
To welcome him!

‘The general of our gracious empress’ is the Earl of Essex.

essex in white

When Shakespeare was writing Henry V in 1599, Essex was in Ireland, putting down the rebellion of the Earl of Tyrone.

tyrone

The plan was then for Essex to march with the English army from Ireland…..

…..bringing rebellion broach’d on his sword….

….and join up with Lord Mountjoy and the Scottish army.

Then, with King James the VI of Scotland at their head, they would march to London, rouse its citizens, storm Whitehall, remove Elizabeth from the throne and replace her with James.

The Chorus in Henry V was priming the audience for the rebellion…..

……and the triumph of Henry V in the play was pre-figuring the triumph of Essex.

Like Hal, Essex had moved on from being a dissolute youth……..

……..(he had his own louche bath-house, situated in the Strand, and a very gay entourage)…….

essex bath 3

……..to a supreme statesman, politician and soldier.

essex on horseback

At Cadiz – like King Henry V at Harfleur – Essex had inspired his troops with his rhetoric…..

essex cadiz

He had thrown his hat into the sea, crying…

…Entramos….

….. and had been the first to leap over the walls of Cadiz.

When he returned to England, his descendant, Walter Devereux, writes:

….[Essex] assumed an entirely new character; he became sober, religious and devoted to his wife; regularly attending prayers and preachings, and using language so replete with moral sentiments, with humility and self-distrust, as greatly to edify the astonished courtiers….

Shakespeare intended King Henry V to be a rôle-model for both Essex and his co-rebels, Southampton and Mountjoy.

He shows how a leader needs to be utterly ruthless at times……

……as Henry is with Falstaff and even more so with the ‘Southampton’ traitors and Bardolph……

……but he must never lose……

….the common touch……

He must give his troops…….

……a little touch of Harry in the night……

……as though he were his own human sacrifice.

We live through Hal’s transformation into King of England……..

……with the coded implication that Essex could become King of England as well…..

It’s what a lot of  Catholics wanted.

Essex promised religious freedom for England…

……and even allowed the old Latin Mass to be celebrated at Essex House in the Strand…..

Essex House, Strand, London

However, in real life things weren’t going well for Essex.

In Ireland he certainly commanded with ruthlessness……

……and once decimated a whole platoon for cowardice.  

But Tyrone was running circles round him…..

….and at one point nearly persuaded Essex to join forces!

In Scotland, King James VI refused to play ball…..

Shakespeare had been sent up to Edinburgh after the opening of Henry V…….

……..and had written Macbeth to convince James that the murderous usurper, Queen Elizabeth…….

…….who had chopped off the head of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots……

mary q of s execution

…….(when she had been Elizabeth’s ‘guest’ in England)……

…….should be overthrown…….

….. as the Macbeths……

……who had assassinated Duncan…..

macbeths bloody

……(when he had been a guest in their own castle)….

 ……are overthrown in the play…..

 destined right to assume the throne of England….

witches coven Macbeth

[See: ‘Shakespeare in Scotland: ‘Macbeth’ Decoded.]

But canny James was having none of it…..

He knew he only had to wait a year or two for Elizabeth to die and the throne would probably be his anyway.

So why should he take a risk on rebellion?

Besides, he had a pathological hatred of warfare…….

………and would faint away if anyone so much as drew a sword in front of him.

Essex, knowing that his enemies, Sir Walter Raleigh…..

raleigh lovely….and Henry Brooke, the 11th Lord Cobham…..

………were busily destroying his reputation at Court while he was away…..

………returned from Ireland without permission…….

……..and rushed into Queen Elizabeth’s bedroom at Nonesuch Palace….

nonsuch palace

…..before she had time to put on her wig and make-up…….

Still from Benjamin Britten's opera 'Gloriana'.

Still from Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Gloriana’.

Essex was put under house arrest for deserting his post………

…… his treasonable parleying with Tyrone…

essex and tyrone

…….and his insult to the Queen’s vanity.

Half of Essex’s followers thought that Essex should continue the rebellion against Elizabeth….

……half that he should give up.

Shakespeare was now definitely in the latter camp.

He wrote Julius Caesar……..

julius caesar assassination

…..to show how even a high-principled  rebellion against a tyrant could fail hopelessly……

[See: ‘Julius Caesar’ Decoded.]

…… and Timon of Athens………

timon of athens

……. to demonstrate how stoicism and retreat from political life could be a wise and noble course of action for Essex to take.

[See: ‘Timon of Athens’ Decoded.]

Essex, however, wasn’t in the listening mood…..

…..and ended up on the scaffold…..

essex execution

Southampton who, unlike Mountjoy, backed the rebellion to the end, was imprisoned in the Tower, under sentence of death.

southampton in tower

But was Shakespeare EVER fully committed to the rebellion? 

Or even to the cause of empire in Europe?

A serial, bisexual adulterer, who hoarded malt, evaded tax and gave fudged evidence in court, Shakespeare didn’t always get things right…..

For example, he said that the enclosures of the land at Stratford-upon-Avon would never be carried out……

…..but they were.

He does  gives King Henry V………

olivier henry v

……..and the Chorus in the play…..

chorus henry v

……….wonderful, stirring, patriotic language in praise of warfare…….

……….speeches that Queen Elizabeth I would have loathed…..

……….but which inspired Winston Churchill…….

churchill painting

………. to his own flights of rhetoric in the Second World War.

Churchill’s tribute to the fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain….

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

……is very similar to Henry’s speech to his troops before Agincourt…..

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

However, Henry in the play is by no means perfect.

He nearly come to blows with the common soldiers who question the King’s motives……

…….and this leads on to a great, nihilistic speech in which he questions the whole nature and point of kingship…..

He even comes to the conclusion that peasants are happier than he is…..

Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill’d and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm’d with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Has the fore-hand and vantage of a king.

The Duke of Burgundy gives a vivid description of how the fecund landscape of France has been ravaged and destroyed  by war……

Her vine, the merry cheerer of the heart,
Unpruned dies; her hedges even-pleach’d,
Like prisoners wildly overgrown with hair,
Put forth disorder’d twigs; her fallow leas
The darnel, hemlock and rank fumitory
Doth root upon, while that the coulter rusts
That should deracinate such savagery;
The even mead, that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover,
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank,
Conceives by idleness and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, kecksies, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.
And as our vineyards, fallows, meads and hedges,
Defective in their natures, grow to wildness…..

But Shakespeare was now completely associated with the rebellion in the eyes of Queen Elizabeth. Hating him, his disloyalty and his bisexuality, she described him in 1601 as a man who had…..

…forgotten God….

Three years earlier, Francis Meere’s had compared Shakespeare to Ovid in his Palladis Tamia, going so far as to say that….

……the sweet witty soul of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare….

ovid

And in the same year as the Queen’s criticism of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson……

ben jonson colour

…….. wrote a satire on the poetry establishment called The Poetaster.

 He also cast Shakespeare as Ovid, who was mysteriously banished from Rome by Caesar Augustus for….

….a poem and a mistake……

In the play Ovid/Shakespeare takes part in the performance of a bisexual orgy with Julia, Augustus’s daughter……..

…….and with his own daughter, played by Chloe ‘the Moor’……..

…….(a coded reference to Aemilia Lanyer)……….

………and with Ganymede and Thetis and so on….

Augustus banishes ‘Ovid’ and locks his……

…..mis-begotten love….

 ‘Julia’……

…..code for the long-haired Southampton…..

henry wriothesley miniature……into a prison tower…..

……i.e., the Tower of London…..

tower tudor

Augustus says:

 Licentious Naso,[Ovid] for thy violent wrong,

In soothing the declin’d affections

Of our base daughter we exile thy feet

From all approach to our imperial court

On pain of death: and thy mis-begotten love

Commit to patronage of iron doors

Since her soft-hearted sire cannot contain her.

Jonson wickedly shows ‘Ovid’s’ tearful farewell to ‘Julia’….

……who is locked up high in a turret…..

……just like Juliet on her balcony………

balcony scene

The two are so in love with each other that they are unable to say goodbye….

……and keep calling each other back.

……just like Romeo and Juliet…..

The obvious place for Shakespeare to go was James VI gay-friendly court in Scotland – just as Marlowe had intended to do…..

James had written a gay love poem called The Phoenix in memory of his beloved Esmé Stuart…..

esme stuart

…..now Shakespeare replied with a gay love poem to Harry Southampton called The Phoenix and the Turtle.

Harry, like Stuart, was the fabulous Phoenix…..

Shakespeare was the common or garden Turtle Dove….

But both birds are consumed in a mutual fire of love….

phonix in flames

But two years later, in 1603, the Wheel of Fortune turned…. 

Elizabeth died, Southampton was released from the Tower and Shakespeare was a hero again.  

He rode down from Scotland with King James…….

….. and became a leader of the prestigious – and very well funded – King’s Men.

How does Falstaff fit into all this political intrigue? 

falstaff 6

Well, for a start, Shakespeare didn’t call him Falstaff in the first performance of Henry IV. Part One.

He was Sir John Oldcastle – a true figure from history who was companion to Prince Hal.

But he was also the ancestor of  Essex’s arch-enemy – Henry Brooke, 11th Lord Cobham……

…….who Essex nick-named….

…..The Sycophant…

Oldcastle, who had married Joan Cobham in 1408, had been a Protestant Lollard who had been executed as a heretic rebel by the Catholic regime…..oldcastle burning

But by the time of Elizabeth’s Protestant reign, he had been transformed into a martyr.

Shakespeare took great delight in transforming him further into a penniless, fat, lying, drunken, old crook.

So outraged were the Cobham family that Elizabeth herself had to intervene and Shakespeare was forced to publicly aplogise and re-name him.

But he is still referred to by Prince Hal as……..

….the old lad o’th’castle…..

…..and Henry Brooke gained a new nick-name….

He was known to the Essex entourage for ever more as ‘Sir John Falstaff’.

But where does the character of Falstaff come from?

Did Shakespeare just invent him – or did he draw him from life?

Well, Thomas Nashe – who, The Code believes, collaborated with Shakespeare on the Henry IV plays – as he collaborated with Jonson and Marlowe……..

dido frontispiece small

……….dedicates his pamphlet Strange Newes………

strange news

……. to a fat, criminally inclined, vintner, womaniser and lover of verse……….

…….famous for his advocacy of alcohol………

…….and famous for being  terminally hard-up.

Nashe called him……….

….Mr. Apis-Lapis…..

….which is Latin for ‘Bee’ and ‘Stone’……

……….Beestone…..

Now there was a true life ‘William Beeston’ whose illegitimate, actor son, Christopher, gave John Aubrey, the antiquarian….

Aubrey John

…..the information that…..

……..in his younger years……..

……Shakespeare had been…..

..a schoolmaster in the country…..

[See: ‘Shakespeare was a schoolmaster in the country.’]

 This William Beeston was a close friend of the Southampton family…….

…..and he lived at Great Posbrook Farm………

great posbrook farm

……..just outside Titchfield!!!

[See: The Strange Case of Mr. Apis Lapis.]

 

© Stewart Trotter May 2015.

 

A TRIXIE SPECIAL

Trixie

It was a night to remember indeed!

Your Cat was among the throng of literary glitteratti who hot-footed it last night down to the Conway Hall in Holborn……

crowd at eddies

….to toast the eightieth birthday of Shakespeare Code Fellow….

….the poet Eddie Linden….

NPG x25138; Eddie Linden by Granville Davies

……at a party hosted by the fabulously generous Peter McGraith.

The room was PACKED with poets, and friends of poets, many from the Celtic fringes….

People like Shaun Traynor….

traynor

….celebrated for his stunning poem about the last days of Shakespeare….

Shakespeare’s Last Drink

http://www.shakespeareslastdrink.co.uk/

People like  Stephen Stokes….

….who runs Stokes Books in Dublin….

stokes books

….where the literary greats of Ireland network…..

stokes books interior

….(perhaps, he admits, because his shop is near to the fabulous Grogan’s Pub)

grogan's pub

Here he is seen here with bubbly Karen Little………

……a great Patroness of The Shakespeare Code…..

stephen stokes and Karen (2)

People like Pam Hardyment who, with Jay Landesman, published Eddie’s first collection of verse….

pam hardyment

…..the renowned City of Razors…..

Resized by JpegSizer @ TangoTools.com

Resized by JpegSizer @ TangoTools.com

People like Charlie Walsh…..

charlie walsh clear

…..who describes himself as the greatest unpublished poet in the world!!!

(Though, in truth there were many in the room who could well lay claim to that honour.)

The wine and wit flowed fast and free as Jim Campbell….

…..of Times Literary Supplement fame…..

…..captured essence of Eddie in a wry, perceptive and loving tribute….

jim lectern eddie

He claimed that Bell had invented the telephone solely with Eddie in mind….

….and described ‘THE’ phone calls that would be received at the T. L. S. from from ‘Sir’ Eddie Linden…..

They would often began mid-paragraph……

…..and were concerned with seven main topics,  viz:

(1) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

(2) The Tory Government

(3) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

(4)  The late  poet, John Heath Stubbs

John Heath-Stubbs

John Heath-Stubbs

(5) The Governors of the Poetry Society in London

(6) The latest funeral of someone or other….

(7) The Roman Catholic Church

eddie bowing

He described how Eddie would complain about things written about him that were….

…unjust, unfair or untrue….

….and ask Jim what he should do about it.

Jim’s advice to Eddie was to let it be….

He was the hero of his own book……

portrait eddie 2

…..a work of fantasy fiction.

Sebastian Barker,  who wrote the biography of Eddie….

….Who is Eddie Linden…

who is edie linden

(which Pam Hardyment edited)

….sadly died last year and his widow gave a moving tribute to Eddie…..

….describing how he had given so many chances to so many young poets by publishing them in his poetry magazine Aquarius….

aquarius

….and an extraordinary list of the world-renowned poets who wrote for Eddie as well.

Then fellow-Scotsman John Cooney read extracts from his new biography of Eddie which will be published next year….

So Eddie will have TWO biographies!!!

To have ONE biography……

But to have TWO….

Eddie then read his great poem, City of Razors…..

eddie reading his poems

 

Cobbled streets, littered with broken milk bottles,

Reeking chimneys and dirty tenement buildings,

Walls scrawled with FUCK THE POPE and blue-lettered

Words GOD BLESS THE RANGERS.

An old woman at the corner, arms folded, babe in pram,

A drunk man’s voice from the other pavement,

And out come the Catholics from evening confessional;

A woman roars from an upper window

‘They’re at it again, Maggie!

Five stiches in our Tommie’s face, Lizzie!

Eddie’s in the Royal wi’a sword in his stomach

And the razor’s floating in the River Clyde.’

There is roaring in Hope Street,

They’re killing in the Carlton,

There’s an ambulance in Bridgeton,

And a laddie in the Royal.

 

Then everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday to You’.

eddie cartoon 2

The wine was still flowing freely as I rushed back to West London to file my copy.

The Code’s Chief Agent, Stewart Trotter, was still up, working hard on his next dazzling Post…..

Why did Shakespeare write the King Henry plays?

He looked through Your Cat’s piccies…..

…..then he gave a startled cry!

‘My God’ he said, ‘It’s Charlie Walsh – the greatest unpublished poet in the world…..’

charlie walsh with arms

Stewart then told me a fantastic story.

‘I was in the French House in Soho, as a very young man……

The French House in Soho.

The French House in Soho.

…..and got talking to Charlie whom I had never met before….

The two of us got on, railing against Margaret Thatcher’s England, as we bought each other drinks.

Charlie, who as well as a poet, was a highly skilled backer of horses, had just enjoyed a big win.

Would you like some champagne

…..he asked me.

That’s very kind of you…

… I replied….

….at which point Charlie ordered a bottle of the French House’s very best…..

……and plonked it down in front of me on the bar….

APW3F9 Interior of The French House Soho London uk

APW3F9 Interior of The French House Soho London uk

Nice to meet you. I’m off….

……he said…..

And off he was, leaving me with a whole bottle of champagne.

It was one of the kindest, most spontaneously generous, things that has ever happened to me….

And now we can celebrate it in The Code…..’

So, Brothers and Sisters, always remember this:

What goes round, comes round…..

Bye now,

Paw-Print smallest

P.S. If you would like to read Your Cat’s NOW CLASSIC interview with Eddie on becoming a Fellow of The Shakespeare Code, please click: HERE!

And if you would like to read my review of Eddie’s SCINTILLATING newish collection of poems,….

A Thorn in the Flesh…..

thorn

…….then please click: HERE!

STOP PRESS!!!STOP PRESS!!!STOP PRESS!!!

Evidence from an IMPECCABLE SOURCE has reached The Shakespeare Code that….

……CHARLIE WALSH IS A FRAUD!!!

charlie walsh clear

He has been posing as ‘the greatest unpublished poet in the world’.

It is the DUTY of The Shakespeare Code expose this LIE….

……by publishing this DAMNING PHOTOGRAPH….

….FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD…

walsh (2)

‘CHARLES’ WALSH HAS BEEN PUBLISHED AFTER ALL!!!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonmen-Butterflies-Selected-Charles-Walsh/dp/0907155332

falstaff 1

The most fascinating thing about Falstaff is the contrast between his outside and his inside.

On the outside he is a fat, lumbering man in his sixties – but in his inside he is a romantic, poetic youth who adores adventure and excitement.

falstaff 6

 

He has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of fun and pleasure. The only activity in life he takes seriously is robbery…..

…..and that’s because it funds that pursuit.

falstaff 2

He comes from an old, distinguished, literary family that had fallen on hard times – and his excesses have made them harder.

Physically he is painfully slow……

falstaff lying down

…..but mentally he has a mercurial swiftness which delights in games and conundrums.

falstaff 4

He is a natural actor and a brilliant mimic who will naturally turn life into art.

He lies all the time – but these lies take on a reality of their own: they convince him and delight other people.

He can be opportunistic, ruthless and cowardly – but he loves life with all his heart. And that is why we love him.

falstaff 5

His rejection by King Henry is the play’s most complex moment.

Hal has always known that he must give up the companionship of Falstaff when he becomes King: but he has NOT planned the way he will do it.

When Falstaff, at the Coronation Procession, spontaneously cries out to him:

My King, my love, I speak to thee my heart…

…..it is is an act of familiarity that Hal has not anticipated.

It is important that we should see Hal thinking on his feet when, echoing Peter’s betrayal of Christ, he says:

I know thee not old man….

One spontaneous act follows another – and we have a genuine tragedy.

Both men are in the right.

This is part of the Programme Note for ‘The Making of a King – Henry V’…..

…Stewart Trotter’s adaptation of The Famous Victories of Henry V and William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V…..

TO BE PLAYED IN A SINGLE EVENING

WITH PLAYING TIME OF UNDER TWO HOURS!!!

 It will be presented by The Titchfield Festival at the Great Agincourt Barn in Titchfield….

barn interior

…..at 7.30 p.m. on….

Wednesday 24th June, Thursday 25th June, Friday 26th June, Saturday 27th June, Tuesday 30th June, Wednesday 1st July, Thursday 2nd July, Friday 3rd July…..

…..and at 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. on….

Saturday, 4th July 2015.

To Book phone 01329 556156

http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

To read why Falstaff is fat, Click: HERE!!!

To read the script of The Making of a King, Click: HERE!!!

To read the Concept behind the play, Click:HERE!!!

AN IMPORTANT STATEMENT FROM TRIXIE THE CAT

Trixie

It’s been a monumental week, Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code!!!

The week beginning Monday 20th April, 2015, saw….

1. The Shakespeare Code’s…..

 …….ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE THOUSANDTH VIEW!!!

champagne popping

The Champagne’s been popping at Code Headquarters I can tell you…..

2. The casting of Prince Hal/Henry V in….

THE MAKING OF A KING….

Stewart Trotter’s FABULOUS re-working of FOUR plays…

(i) The Anonymous Armada Play The Famous Victories of Henry V…..

famous victories front page

(ii) William Shakespeare’s First Part of King Henry IV,  (iii) Second Part of King Henry IV and (iv) The Life of Henry V….

It is, though, the view of The Shakespeare Code that Thomas Kyd and William Shakespeare collaborated on The Famous Victories of Henry V …..

….and that Thomas Nashe….

Nashe thomas

…collaborated with Shakespeare on the Henry IV plays…..

…especially the low-life scenes with Sir John Falstaff…..

falstaff beaming

See: Why Falstaff is Fat.

Stewart has adapted all these plays into a single entertainment of TWO ACTS….

….both of which are….

……UNDER AN HOUR IN LENGTH!!!

They will play as part of The Titchfield Festival at the Great Barn in Titchfield….

barn interior

…..at 7.30 p.m. on….

Wednesday 24th June, Thursday 25th June, Friday 26th June, Saturday 27th June, Tuesday 30th June, Wednesday 1st July, Thursday 2nd July, Friday 3rd July…..

…..and at 2.30 and 7.30 p.m. on….

Saturday, 4th July 2015.

To Book phone 01329 556156

http://www.titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com/store/p40/Henry_V_-_The_making_of_a_King.html

2015 is the SIX HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY of the BATTLE OF AGINCOURT…

…and we know that King Henry V….

henry v

….stayed at Titchfield Abbey before embarking for France….

…and held a Privy Council Meeting there….

Titchfield Abbey was converted into Place House for Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton….

thomas wriothesley close-up

..and is where William Shakespeare worked as a ‘fac totum’….

shakespeare 1588

….and fell in love with the teenage Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton….

tomb henry wriothesley

See: Just How Gay was the Third Earl of Southampton.

To play the great rôle of Prince Hal who becomes Henry V….

…..the Titchfield Festival Theatre is proud to announce that they have secured the services of….

…rising young star…

….CHRIS MILLS….

chris mills 2

…..who hales from Warsash…..

…and has only been acting seriously for three years!!!

Chris gave a STUPENDOUS reading of the part….

..and goes on after the Titchfield Shakespeare Festival to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe in….

…Tennessee Williams Confessional

To read the CONCEPT of the play, click: HERE.

…and to read the script itself, click: HERE

Tonight we play The Making of a King

And tell the tale of dissolute Prince Harry

Who, more in love with taverns than with courts

And constant comrade of a gross fat knight

Transformed, upon his father Henry’s death,

Into the star of England…..

Also the week beginning 2oth April saw….

CURAÇAO……

curacao location

….. join The Shakespeare Code….

curacao 1

This brings the number of participating countries to an overwhelming….

ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY EIGHT!!!

See: The Shakespeare Code Salutes the Nations.

curacao map

Will the total number reach 200?

Come on Greenland!

greenland

Let’s be having you!!!

‘Bye, now….

Paw-Print smallest

 Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code will recall that….

…..on 3rd July, 2014….

 ….Trixie the Cat….

Trixie

…issued a DIRE WARNING about…..

…SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE ONSTAGE…

shakespeare in love play 2

Almost EVERY THEATRE CRITIC IN THE WORLD raved on about how brilliant Shakespeare in Love Onstage was.

A joyous celebration of life….

….yelled the Daily Telegraph from the mountain tops….

Joyous….

… yodelled back the Independent

A love letter to theatre…..

….gurgled the Guardian…..

You will fall in love…

…..wailed the Mail

WHATSONSTAGE even gave it the award for….

‘BEST NEW PLAY of 2014…’

shakespeare in love stage photo

 …..But Trixie the Cat exposed the show as a…..

PIECE OF OLD PLAGIARISED TOSH!!!

(Only TWO other critics shared Trixie’s insight……

……one of whom had clearly READ Trixie’s piece before he wrote his!

To find out who these BRILLIANT CRITICS were, click:  HERE!  )

As a film, Shakespeare in Love (1998)…..

shakespeare in love poster

…..was UNCANNILY SIMILAR to the novel No Bed for Bacon (1941)…..

no bed for bacon

……by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon.

In No Bed for Bacon an aristocratic woman called Lady Viola falls in love with William Shakespeare, dresses up as a boy and plays in a Shakespeare play….

In Shakespeare in Love (the film)  an aristocratic woman called Lady Viola falls in love with William Shakespeare, dresses up as a boy and plays in a Shakespeare play….

Shakespeare in Love Onstage is also UNCANNILY SIMILAR to Cyrano de Bergerac (1894)….

cyrano poster

In Edmond Rostand’s beautiful play, Cyrano….

…..he of the big nose……

cyrano

…..writes love-letters for his friend Christian…

cyrano and christian

…..to the beautiful Roxanne…

cyrano and roxanne

….with whom he is also in love…..

In Shakespeare in Love Onstage, Christopher Marlowe….

Marlowe, Christopher

……writes a love-sonnet for his friend William Shakespeare……

shakespeare 1588

……to woo the Lady Viola…..

It is The Code’s fervent belief that Shakespeare was quite capable of writing…..

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…..

….himself…

And what’s more, he wrote this great poem…..

….TO A YOUNG MAN!!!

……Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton….

tomb henry wriothesley

(Also, Marlowe himself was gay, but let that pass….)

The good news is that……

….though the critics were fooled by Shakespeare in Love Onstage…..

 …..the theatre going public was not!!!

Shakespeare in Love ‘MUST END’ its run on 18th April this year (2015)….

…..just nine months after it opened!!!

TIME HAS PROVED THE CAT RIGHT AGAIN!!!

To read her penetrating and prophetic original review….

PLEASE CLICK: HERE!!!

Trixie is the Theatre Cat par excellence…..

..and is here to serve Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code…

…for all of her nine lives…

 

 

Trixie

TRIXIE THE CAT SAYS….

It is wonderful that the body of King Richard III has been discovered in a car-park in Leicester…..

richard III in car park

…..and it is wonderful that he has been received into Leicester Cathedral…..

richard III coffin

But the media is full of ‘experts’ opining that William Shakespeare’s play is a piece of pro-Queen Elizabeth Tudor propaganda….

It is the firm belief of The Shakespeare Code that William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, is….

QUITE THE OPPOSITE!!!

 IT IS AN ATTACK ON ROBERT DUDLEY, EARL OF LEICESTER…..

….THE DEAD LOVER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH I!!!

He had murdered his young wife Amy Robsart in order to make himself available to the Queen…..

He had used poison to eliminate his rivals, love potions to seduce and women, and practised the darkest of arts under a cloak of piety.

Never having uttered a prayer in his life, he was the self-style leader of the Puritan movement in England.

Catholics, who all hated him, compared him to Richard III…

Leicester was known as ‘The Bear’……

King Richard…….

…..was known as ‘The Boar’. 

At one point, the print compositor of an early edition of the play mixed the two nicknames up….

Elizabeth’s henchmen were so horrified by Shakespeare’s play they produced their own version  – which is wildly pro-Elizabeth – and which was performed by the State funded, sycophantic Queen’s Men.

Brothers and Sisters of The Code are invited to examine the evidence for the theory in a seven part series: ‘Richard III Decoded’.

To read Part One, ‘All the Queen’s Men’, please click: HERE

To read Part Two, Elizabeth and the Bear, please click: HERE

To read Part Three, The Boar and The Bear, please click: HERE

To read Part Four, The Bear and The Honey, please click: HERE

To read Part Five, The Queen’s Men Revisited, please click: HERE

To read A Synopsis, please click: HERE

To read Richard III and War, please click: HERE

Clare E. Shepherd writes:

What a wonderful exposition of the truth about Richard III. Thank you for such a well reasoned argument and for making it available.

Thank YOU Clare for writing in such an encouraging way….


  (It’s best to read Parts ONE, TWO and THREE first)

THE HISTORY BOOKS HAVE GOT IT WRONG!!!

Actresses were performing in London much earlier than people realise….

In 1611, Thomas Coryat…..

thomas coryate

…… published his Coryat’s Crudities……

coryat's crudities

……his account of his travels walking through Europe.

His description of Venice is fascinating:

I was at one of their playhouses where I saw a Comedy acted. The house is very beggarly and base in comparison of our stately Playhouses in England: neither can their actors compare with us for apparel, shows and music. Here I observed certain things that I never saw before. For I saw women act, a thing that I never saw before, though I have heard that it hath been sometimes used in London, and they performed it with as good a grace, action, gesture and whatsoever convenient for a player, as ever I saw any masculine Actor.

So – in Shakespeare’s lifetime – actresses could be found in London as well as Europe.

Also, in the reign of King James, the position of women at the Court was very different from the time of Queen Elizabeth…..

Elizabeth could not bear competition from pretty, witty women.

She wanted to be the centre of interest for her courtiers – so banned any rivals.

These banished women…….

…..like Mary Browne, the Countess of Southampton……

Mary Browne

 

…….at Titchfield…..

How 'Place House' (Titchfield Abbey re-built) looked in Shakespeare's time.

….and Mary Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke….

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

…..at Wilton…..

wilton house

 ……formed their own rival courts on their country estates……

The Countess of Pembroke was Protestant and the Countess of Southampton Roman Catholic…….

……but they were united in one thing….

 THEIR HATRED OF QUEEN ELIZABETH!!!

….Mary Herbert because of the Queen’s political castration of her brother, Sir Philip Sidney…

sidney sir philip hand on hip in white

……and her contempt for his Code of Chivalry….

….and Mary Browne because of the Queen’s treatment of her fellow Catholics and friends…

….one of whom, Swithun Wells….

swithin wells

 

…..now Saint Swithun…..

…..Elizabeth had hanged outside Mary Browne’s London home in December, 1591….

…..only months before Love’s Labour’s Lost was performed.

Wilton was only thirty miles away from Titchfield – and the women shared ‘human resources’….

Poets like William Shakespeare…..

shakespeare 1588

 

…..and scholars like John Florio….

iflorij001p1

It is The Code’s belief that the two Mary’s mounted productions – both independently and jointly – which could rival the entertainments Queen Elizabeth staged at Court…..

…..entertainments which were often coded satires on Elizabeth’s character, actions and thought.

Mary Browne was a widow and so independent….

…..and though Mary Herbert’s acting company……

Pembroke’s Men

…..functioned under the name of her husband, Henry Herbert, Second Earl of Pembroke….

henry herbert second earl of Pembroke

…..Pembroke himself was too ill in the 1590’s to take any active role…

So Mary Herbert was, in practice, independent as well.

We also know from the will of Simon Jewel, an actor, that the Countess of Pembroke acted as a hands-on, financial patron.

On 19th August, 1592, Jewel signed his Last Will and Testament which stated :

…..my share of such money as shall be given by my lady Pembroke or her means I will shall be distributed and paid towards my burial and other charges by Mr. Scott and the said Mr. Smithe.

William Shakespeare dedicated his Venus and Adonis and Lucrece to Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton: but when these narrative poems were first published (1593 and 1594) Southampton had not come of age…..

….and his mother, notoriously, kept a tight hold on the family purse-strings…..

So it was Mary Browne who acted as Shakespeare’s financial patron…..

……who commissioned Shakespeare’s first seventeen sonnets…..

(See: The Birthday Sonnets.)

……and, indeed, Love’s Labour’s Lost itself.

But when King James came to the throne…….

james illustration

…..his wife, Anne of Denmark….

anne of denmark

….wanted to CELEBRATE the talent and beauty of aristocratic women…..

 ….especially, it was rumoured, those who were Roman Catholic….

….or had Papist sympathies. 

So she invited them to act in Court Masques…..

…..and commissioned Ben Jonson…….

ben jonson colour

…..to produce The Masque of Blackness…….

…..with elaborate designs by Inigo Jones….

inigo jones

 ……in which women……

……the Queen included……

……played and danced the parts of dark-skinned nymphs.

The masque was performed on Twelfth Night in 1605 and the cast included Queen Anne herself, the Countess of Bedford, Lady Herbert, the Countess of Derby, the Countess of Suffolk, Lady Bevill, Lady Effingham, Lady Elizabeth Howard, Lady Susan Vere, Lady Mary Wroth, Lady Walsingham…..

……and, most important for us, the beautiful Lady Penelope Rich……

penelope rich

…… who played the part of Ocyte….

penelope rich masque

[Penelope had almost been converted to Roman Catholicism in 1594 by the Jesuit Priest John Gerard – but had been persuaded not to go over to Rome by her lover, Charles Blount…..

Charles Blount Lord Mountjoyu

….. by then 8th Baron Mountjoy….

……who in youth had himself been ‘addicted to’ the Old Faith]

Even before the reign of James, women acted in private…..

…..and sometimes not so private……

…..entertainments. 

As we have seen, the servant of Thomas Wriothesley, First Earl of Southampton….

thomas above clear (2)

….wrote to his master in 1538……

…..in the reign of King Henry VIII….

henry viii drawing

…… that Wriothesley’s wife, Countess Jane….

jane w 2

….also handleth the country gentlemen, the farmers and their wives to your great worship and every night is as merry as can be with Christmas plays and masques with Anthony Gedge and other of your servants…

Also, when Queen Elizabeth visited Mary Browne’s father, Anthony Browne, Lord Montague….

Montague, Lord

 

……at Cowdray in 1591 on one of her progresses, Lady Montague…..

…..as it were weeping in her [Elizabeth’s] bosom…

……exclaimed, in a well-scripted response…….

…Oh happy time! Oh joyful day!

The next day, when Elizabeth was about to shoot rounded-up deer at point blank range, a….

 ….nymph…

…..handed her a crossbow and sang….

….a sweet song…..

Even more extraordinary was the Elvetham Progress later in the year given by Edward Seymour, First Lord Hertford….

Edward Seymour Lord Hertford

Her Majesty was no sooner ready, and at her gallery window looking into the garden, but there began three cornets to play certain fantastic dances, at the measure whereof the Fairy Queen came into the garden, dancing with her maids about her. She brought with her a garland, made in the form of an imperial crown; [which] within the sight of Her Majesty she fixed upon a silver staff, and, sticking the staff into the ground, spake as followeth:

I that abide in places underground,

Aureola, the Queen of Fairy land,

That every night in rings of painted flowers

Turn round and carol out Elisa’s name:

Hearing that Nereus and the Sylvan Gods

Have lately welcomed your Imperial grace,

Opened the earth with this enchanting wand,

To do my duty to your Majesty,

And humbly to salute you with this chaplet,

Given me by Auberon the Fairy King.

Bright shining Phoebe [Elizabeth] that in human shape

Hid’st heaven’s perfection, vouchsafe t’accept it:

And I Aureola, beloved in heaven,

(For amorous stars fall nightly in my lap)

Will cause the heavens enlarge thy golden days

And cut them short that envy at thy praise….

Clearly we are only a breath away from A Midsummer Night’s Dream……

…..indeed, this section of the Progress Entertainment could well have been written by Shakespeare himself.

 If Aureola could be played by a woman in private performance, why not Titania?

Anita Louise as Titania.

Anita Louise as Titania.

And if Titania, why not the women in Love’s Labour’s Lost?

IT IS THE SHAKESPERARE CODE’S BELIEF THAT….

…..LADY PENELOPE RICH…..

penelope rich lambeth 2

….PLAYED THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE…

…IN THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION!!!

As we have seen in PART TWO of this series, Shakespeare, like many other writers, played on Penelope’s married name……

…..Rich…..

…in his Sonnets.

The Shakespeare Code is of the belief that……

…..SHAKESPEARE PLAYED ON PENELOPE RICH’S NAME IN LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST AS WELL!!!

The Princess of France opens the last scene of the play with the statement….

Sweet hearts we shall be rich ere we depart…

….and the reason she shall be rich before she leaves Navarre is…….

 ……BECAUSE SHE IS BEING PLAYED BY LADY PENELOPE!!!

The word ‘Rich’ – in all its forms – is used another SEVEN TIMES in the final scene of the play.

 MOTH

All hail, the richest beauties on the earth!–

BOYET

Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.

(1, 2 and 3)

BEROWNE

We number nothing that we spend for you:

Our duty is so rich, so infinite,

That we may do it still without accompt.

(4)

BEROWNE

……….. your capacity

Is of that nature that to your huge store

Wise things seem foolish and rich things but poor.

ROSALINE

This proves you wise and rich, for in my eye,–

(5 and 6)

PRINCESS

Prepare, I say. I thank you, gracious lords,

For all your fair endeavors; and entreat,

Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe

In your rich wisdom to excuse or hide

The liberal opposition of our spirits,

If over-boldly we have borne ourselves

(7)

The King of Navarre – played by the Earl of Southampton……

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

(See:PART THREE)

– refers to Penelope Rich’s stunning red hair, which looks like the sun in the sky……

And beauty’s crest becomes the heavens well….

(c) Lambeth Palace; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 And Berowne makes a reference to Penelope’s hair when he says that…..

….red, that would avoid dispraise,

Paints itself black, to imitate her [Rosaline’s] brow…..

Queen Elizabeth also had red hair…..

elizabeth red

……and the character of the Princess of France in the play was….

……VERY SIMILAR INDEED….

 …….to the character of Queen Elizabeth…..

….and VERY SIMILAR INDEED….

….to the character of Penelope Rich…

……..as we shall see in our next GAME-CHANGING Post…..

 P.S.

Those who wish to read…..

THE MAKING OF A KING

 …..Stewart Trotter’s thrilling adaptation of The Famous Victories of Henry V and Shakespeare and Nashe’s Henry IV Parts One and Two and Henry V…

PLEASE CLICK: HERE!

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