(Adam Feldman’s article appeared in Time Out New York, 9/23.)
One of my happiest surprises at the theater in recent memory is The Life and Death of King John, the extraordinary inaugural production of a troupe called New York Shakespeare Exchange. I went to see the play, I must confess, with trepidation in my heart; my principal motive was to see this rarely produced history onstage for the first time. But King John, adapted and directed by Ross Williams, does much more than fill a blank spot on a Shakespeare completist’s checklist. Boldly illuminating the obscurities of the text—the play is a litany of intra-aristocratic squabbles about royal succession at the turn of the 13th century—Williams has fashioned a lucid, red-blooded and engaging account of loyalty, luck and medieval realpolitik.