I’ve got the War of the Roies on my mind, probably because I’ve spent the majority of 2009 sitting through it. The whole thing felt like an artifact of from a different world, but I quite liked being asked to exercise the underused right side of my brain.
Before going I didn’t really understand why anyone would want to make such an “ambitious” (long) play, but in watching it you come appreciate the master plan. The eight history plays that make up the W of the Rs were intended as studies of individual kings, but staging one after the other means the abstract concept of kingship comes into focus, with each successive King appearing only as a temporary steward of the crown.
It took me a while to connect with the play, probably because it’s in a different emotional register to most of the arts I encounter. (It’s about bloodshed, rather than pathos / love / cynicism / web 2.0). But the first minute completely took my breath away. Millions of gold flakes falling down in total silence as C8 sat centre stage in flawless in monochromatic tailoring. Would have made the most stunning editorial Vogue shoot in history.
“Cate!”, I shouted, busting to break the fourth wall. Regally, she silenced me with her palm, her serene expression not even faltering for a second. Damn those Actors are good at improv. 
It continued golding away for the whole act, keeping me totally spellbound. Half way through, one of Actors got to lie down peacefully and die, spending the remainder of the play getting slowly covered in gold until he became part of the carpet of sparkles covering the stage. “That”, I whispered to my sister Alex, “is the role I was born to play."
There was a kute pomo moment somewhere between Richard II and Henry IV where the stagehands came on vacuumed up the gold, and didn’t we all find that amusing. But then all glitter was gone, and they killed Cate, and suddenly everything got very sober.
I thought we’d spend the next three hours pretending to enjoy being at the theatre while secretly waiting for her to come back, but fortunately I was wrong. Turns out I could concentrate a lot better when I didn’t have anyone so famous and pretty to stare at.
The humanity of the play came in the second act, with the character of Falstaff, who according to the program is “an old soldier young Prince Hal has taken up with”. A quick blowjob by the Prince cleared up any questions I had about what that meant. Their relationship supposedly represents the descent into ultimate depravity, but it’s also the only part of the play with any heart, and the Prince’s rejection of Falstaff when he becomes King was harder to watch than any of the gruesome killings.
Possibly the middle of the play was interesting too, but I wouldn’t know because the usher made me sit outside as punishment for being like thirty seconds late after the interval.
The End. (sort of – I have another four hours to go tonight).
Only happened in my imagination, obvs.