January 31, 2023
07:00 PM - 09:30 PM
Campus Events
Henderson #112
Mike Bartlett's imaginative future history King Charles III (2017)- the film adapted from his own play (2014) borrows the template of William Shakespear's history plays and applies them to an imagined future, in which a freshly-crowned Charles III provokes a constitutional crisis in a confrontation with Parliament (which, for anyone who knows kingly names in British history, should ring a bell). Bartlett slyly echoes in multiple ways his bardic model: quoting lines (listen for the bit from Julius Caesar), borrowing character types (Kate-the real one apparently didn't like the play-seems like one of those monstrous too-powerful women woven through Shakespear's Henry VI), playing with fainter echoes (the ghost of Diana figures like other prophetic spirits in the canon, those Macbeth witches say), emulating plot lines (the father-son contest reminds us of Henry IV), even writing in blank verse (this is what pentameter sounds like!). Still, by casting his "history" in the future instead of the past, Barlett changes the rules: forcing us to think about what history means, how its patterns play out in sometimes repeating and sometimes echoing ways, how we use history (much as Shakespeare did) to think about questions and conditions in the present.
Thomas Prasch