King John

King John is one of Shakespeare’s rarely performed history plays. I was happy to see it for the first time as it is one of the plays that is possible to see for the first time. Some of them are so familiar one doesn’t have to see them to know what they are about – i.e. Hamlet.


The production, at the Patterson Theatre, was unadorned. Chandeliers were the only constant stage setting – a few chairs brought on & off as needed. Costumes defined characters well & the Stratford costume and wig departments never disappoint.

I found the pacing of the first half a little uneven, the second was better. Performances, over-all, were good. Perhaps hitting end lines, rhymes a bit too hard. A few voices lacked projection though they could be heard. I wanted more out of Pat Collins in her exchanges with Seana McKenna.


Tom McCamus, in the title roll, invested John with a clearly quirky & slightly comic personality but I never felt he was connected to the character. At one point struggling as much with his billowing cape, footwork as he did with his character.


I enjoyed Seana as Constance, the grieving mother – her pain was clear and her political aims paled, even to her, as it became clear the cost that would be paid by her son. Also good was Graham Abbey, as Philip. Playful, brave and emotional by turns with an energetic and well thought out performance. Plus he managed to look fetching in bulky breeches.

Plot: betrayals, greeds, even a bit of love – the events carry the subtext which is – everything is a commodity – from morals, faith and in particular loyalty. Highly recommended.



Surrender To The Light


the performer is never just

a member of the audience

maybe a face in the crowd

always aware

that  even when not performing

there a gap between doing and witnessing

the performer in the audience

thinks how would I do that

thinks they aren’t appreciative enough

thinks good lighting

nice intonation

rarely thinks what does this piece say to me


this inability to be audience

becomes even acuter

when the performer

knows they have to make an entrance

leave their seat go on the stage

take a place


for five   twenty minutes


until that point

the listening mind

isn’t really hearing

what the others do

can’t relax

be just an audience member

a mere adulator


can’t even remember


their own performance

losing all sense of memory

in that surrender to the light

superman o superman


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