You have a rare chance to see one of Shakespeare’s less frequently produced plays this month as Cincinnati Shakespeare offers the poetic, powerful and poisonous story of a monarch who had no qualms about taking whatever measures he deemed necessary to solidify his seat on the throne. The plot is political and the characters are cynical, so this play has a modern air to it. You’ll see many of the same characters who appeared last season in James Goldman’s A Lion in Winter, a 1966 retelling of machinations between the three sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine to inherit the British throne.
Now the whiny, impudent John has outlasted his brothers, but he’s still threatened by other aspirants to the crown. Billy Chace again plays John, older but not a lot wiser, and Sherman Fracher is back as his powerful mother Eleanor. This is the first time Cincinnati Shakespeare has staged King John in its 17-year history. The company is now able to boast of presenting 33 of the Bard’s 37 plays. Plans are in the works to stage each of the remaining four titles through the company’s 20th season in 2014. Don’t miss this one — it’s not likely to come around again soon.
King John continues at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Jan. 30. Go here for directions, show times and ticket information.