Page:Richard II (1921) Yale.djvu/145

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King Richard the Second
133
 

version, in which he acted three times that season and thirteen times in all. He seems not to have included it in his American repertory.

All these adaptations point the moral of what the play lacks as a theater-piece; they all aim to reduce the amount of talk, expand the Queen's part, and give more complication to the plot.

The next important production (leaving at one side that at Drury Lane, 1834, in which Vandenhoff, Cooper, and Mrs. Sloman played the leading parts) was the spectacular revival by Charles Kean at the Princess Theatre, March 12, 1857. The text was Shakespeare, unaltered except for the usual cuts. The distinguishing characteristic of the performance was the emphasis laid on historical accuracy in costumes and manners, especially in the grand procession introduced between the third and fourth acts, representing Bolingbroke's triumphal entry into London with Richard a prisoner in his train. The crowd were most carefully rehearsed in the sports and pastimes of the fourteenth century, after Strutt, and some of the populace even had lines to deliver. Though impressive, this production did not have any tremendous popularity, and resulted in financial loss to Kean.

After 1857 until towards the close of the century, Richard II was practically absent from the English stage, though Edwin Booth played it in the provinces during his tour in 1882. It was one of the four plays of Shakespeare that Samuel Phelps did not produce at Sadler's Wells. In 1897 Sir Henry Irving formed the project of putting it on, even going so far as to have scenery painted by E. A. Abbey, but, illness interfering, he definitely abandoned the idea in 1898. The play was, however, given at his theater, the Lyceum, by Benson, March 15, 1900, winning praise for the actors but running only two nights. Since