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, Cranmer, Marlowe, the KJV Bible of 1611, et al), all expressed in Tudor English.
Why spend four years writing a better play than Shakespeare’s Richard the Third about the life of a short-lived monarch? For me, Dark Sovereign started as an intellectual challenge as well as a counter-attack on the Bard’s interpretation of Richard III. 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 dramatized 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)
- The character, Rumour, explains herself (Blog page)
- Lord Hastings shouts down a mob (Blog page)
- Queen Anne prepares for death under a solar eclipse, March 16 1485 (PDF)
- Read my Introduction (‘The Owner’s Manual’) to ‘Dark Sovereign’ (PDF)
Buy the book in paperback with full Arden-style glossary …
Posts, discussions and comments
- On the Tudor Trail, Richard III, by Robert Fripp
- Robert Fripp: Setting the record straight on Richard III, in Shakespeare’s English, The National Post (Canada), 12/23/2011
- How I wrote Dk Sov’n and why – LinkedIn, Aug 27, 2014
- King Richard Armitage, by Robert Fripp
- Richard III back on stage – R. Fripp. Challenge to William S’speare, 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—A Challenge to William Shakespeare – Ravepad
- A Man In His Mirrors : Schizoid Projections of RIIIR (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
- Keywords to this page: history king richard iii play writer curriculum wars of the roses Shakespeare’s play golden age elizabeth woodville edward iv henry tudor anne neville historical drama english renaissance english teaching tool house of lancaster house of york middleham castle battle of bosworth field