REMINDER: “The Hollow Crown” Starts Tonight!

At last!

Tonight at 9PM (check your local listings), PBS’ “Great Performances” will unleash the first part of the Beeb’s Sam Mendes-produced “The Hollow Crown.”

Described as “a lavish new series of filmed adaptations of four of Shakespeare’s most gripping history plays; Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1), Henry IV (Part 2), and Henry V,” it is an event over which I have been obsessing ever since I accidentally stumbled across an unauthorized clip of Tom Hiddleston delivering the “St. Crispin’s Day Speech” some time back and was instantly hooked. (Here. See for yourself.)

I’ll have to wait a few weeks for the rest of that scene, though. Tonight’s play is Richard II. I guess I’ll just have to cope. Somehow.

KING RICHARD (Ben Whishaw) is called upon to settle a dispute between his cousin HENRY BOLINGBROKE (Rory Kinnear) and THOMAS MOWBRAY (James Purefoy). RICHARD calls for a duel but then halts it just before swords clash. Both men are banished from the realm. RICHARD visits JOHN OF GAUNT (Patrick Stewart), BOLINGBROKE’s Father, who, in the throes of death, reprimands the King. After seizing GAUNT’s money and lands, RICHARD leaves for wars against the rebels in Ireland. BOLINGBROKE returns to claim back his inheritance. Supported by his allies, NORTHUMBERLAND (David Morrissey) and the DUKE OF YORK (David Suchet), BOLINGBROKE takes RICHARD prisoner and lays claim to the throne.

That cast list is absurd. In a good way. And I love that clip. Can’t. Wait!

UPDATE: For those who found themselves unable to carve out the (not insignificant) time necessary to watch this LIVE!, I’m not judging you. Not much, anyway. Besides, the entire production can be found HERE. All two hours, twenty-eight minutes, and thirty-one seconds worth. But who’s counting? Go thou in haste and watch it!

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