The play in Shakespeare’s English that Shakespeare should have written.
Dark Sovereign tells the tale of King Richard III’s life and reign. It does so as a play, a full length tragedy, written in English as it was available in the time of Shakespeare. That makes this the only play in nearly four centuries crafted in the language of the ‘Golden Age’, the apex of the Renaissance in English literature.
The text is both powerful drama and a potent teaching tool; its sources reach back into the minds of excellent writers, men and women, (i.e. Queen Elizabeth I), who expressed themselves in Tudor English.
Why spend four years writing a better play than Shakespeare’s Richard the Third about the life of that short-lived monarch? For me, Dark Sovereign started as an intellectual challenge as well as a counter-attack on the Bard’s interpretation of that king. Shakespeare’s play for the Tudor court of Elizabeth I is a scurrilous piece of propaganda. Four centuries later, Richard the Third is still among Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
In 1625, Nathanael Carpenter wrote, ‘Where History is uncertain, reasonable conjecture must challenge precedency’. Dark Sovereign does ‘challenge precedency’. However, it is not wildly revisionist. Making use of old and modern histories in its research, the play seldom gives King Richard’s character more benefit of the doubt than the average value gathered from many sources. This play is an exercise in modern dramatised journalism. It seeks to explain, not exonerate; to define, not denounce.
Running longer than Hamlet, the text of Dark Sovereign is now the longest single-part play written in the English of the Renaissance.
- Read Reviews and Comments (PDF) about the text
- Read Excerpts (PDF) from ‘Dark Sovereign’
- Read ‘Quotable Quotes’ (PDF)
- Read my Introduction (‘The Owner’s Manual’) to ‘Dark Sovereign’ (PDF)
- The character, Rumour, explains herself (Blog page)
- Lord Hastings shouts down a mob (Blog page)
Buy the book in paperback with full Arden-style glossary …
Posts, discussions and comments
- Dark Sovereign, by Robert Fripp – On the Tudor Trail
- Robert Fripp: Setting the record straight on Richard III, in Shakespeare’s English – The National Post (Canada), December 23, 2011
- Dark Sovereign: How I wrote it, and why – LinkedIn, Aug 27, 2014
- Dark Sovereign by Robert Fripp – King Richard Armitage
- Richard III back on stage – R. Fripp, Dark Sovereign: a challenge to William Shakespeare – Fly High by Learn-on-Line
- Richard III receiving emergency care after mauling by Shakespeare – Ellen & Jim Have a Blog
- Robert Fripp responds to a post that asks, ‘Why Are All Ugly People Evil?’
- Robert Fripp—Dark Sovereign, A Challenge to William Shakespeare – Ravepad
- A Man In His Mirrors : Schizoid Projections of Richard III (Guest Post) – Shakespeare Geek
- Richard III — d’après Shakespeare mise en scène David Gauchard — l’Unijambiste — Robert Fripp responds to Miriam Panigel’s blog, (French), 16/08/2011
- The Search Term << Dark Sovereign Fripp >> shakes loose all sorts of stuff
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