& the slipper still fits

this is not a love song

It's more of a gushing, glorious, excited post about The Hollow Crown

Last week I was given the best gift by a discerning friend - the four episodes of The Hollow Crown. When the series first aired in England, I'll admit, I stayed ignorant just so I wouldn't get obsessed. Someone's gotta look out for my own sanity.

Well, I decided to just to go for it. My rebound with obsessions has been better as of late, and the only thing it could change, my was opinion of Tom Hiddleson. 

I'm going to open up here a little - I didn't know the Hollow Crown was actually 4 Shakespeare plays grouped together. I hoped. I wished. But I really didn't think BBC would group them and call them something else. MOM WAS FURIOUS when we started watching. It's not that she doesn't enjoy a Shakespeare play every now and then, but she need preparation before such things, and so she just couldn't focus at all. 

Luckily, this particular series of historical plays have been my friends since my senior year of college. I remember ever so fondly reading out Falstaf's parts with my roommate and writing essays about the importance of Hal's transformation. Just thinking about that last semester has me glowing. I loved that class. I would have killed to have 3 more of them. We had the prefect professor, a great group of kids, and the fearlessness as seniors to just go for it. Those days were glorious and we knew it. 

So, watching The Hollow Crown has been a mixture of those feelings and the powerful performances before me; mixed with a healthy does of telling my mom what's going on. (Too many Henry/Hal/Harry (s) for her liking.)

For this post, I'm going to do a short run-down of Richard II, the first mini-movie in the series; and over the next month, we'll be discusses all four. (Hiddleson is in the 2-4 movies ladies -- you'll have to wait till next week.) 

Richard II

The film opens with some of our favorite BBC actors before the court, Ben Whishaw presiding over them as Richard II. This Shakespeare play does not have a particularly captivating scope. Much of the action takes place in the palace, on the shores of England, or in "the countryside". Likewise, much of the focus in Richard II is aptly on Richard and his loss of the throne. We are not supposed to focus in Henry IV's rise, so much as poor Richard's fall. 

Whishaw is strangely magnetic in the role - his mannerisms feminine and his voice child-like. Much of the time, my pity for the character seems to stem more from what appears to be his fragile state. This is not a man like Richard III to come. This king, though he does fight, does not cling to his crown with the fervor of a man sure of himself and his right to lead. 

But Richard does have some breath-taking speeches. And Whishaw breathes life into them with such dedication it is hard to imagine them spoken by anyone else. Likewise, in Richard II it is the small parts which have some of the best lines in the play.  

I know this review is short, but I don't have much impassioned focus on it. Wait till I cover Henry IV part 1 next week...

Who you'll see
Ben Whishaw, Patrick Stewart, David Bradley, Lindsay Duncan, Rory Kinner, David Morrissey, Clemence Posey, and James Purefoy.     

Check out the youtube search for more.
PBS should be airing The Hollow Crown series in the US in 2013