Buy Tickets From the 2017-2018 Season: The Life and Death of Richard the Second Playing April 28, 2018 to May 13, 2018

A Suzi Bass Awards Recommended Show

Lee Osorio

“This throne of kings, . . . this England”.

The Shakespeare Tavern’s journey through all of Shakespeare’s History plays continues with this tale of a greedy, self-serving King. Watch as Richard lies and steals his way to riches in order to finance his invasion of Irish lands. Watch as Bolingbroke and Northumberland unite against Richard, ultimately leading to Richard’s imprisonment and Bolingbroke’s crowning as King Henry IV … all of which will lead us to the next chapter of the story.

A part of The Shakespeare Evolution Series!

Sponsored by the Bob and Cappa Woodward Charitable Fund

Get a closer look at the show with our slide show (Contains Spoilers) Richard II April 2018

Join the cast and crew members for a lively Question and Answer session on Sunday May 6 after the show!


Book Club with the Bard: Richard II with special guest Dr. David Weiss
Saturday Saturday May 12

Get ready for a special edition of Book Club with the Bard!

This month we’ll be discussing Shakespeare’s history The Life and Death of the Richard II. Joining us is David Weiss, a longtime Shakespeare Tavern supporter and former chair of our Board of Directors who has recently received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Birmingham (UK) and the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  David wrote his thesis on Shakespeare’s early history plays, including Richard II, and their relationship to the epic poem “The Civil Wars” by Samuel Daniel, a contemporary of Shakespeare’s.  David will be happy to discuss any aspect of Richard II, but will also present a manuscript of Daniel’s poem that may have served as one of Shakespeare’s sources for the play.  The identification of the manuscript as a potential Shakespeare source may change the dating of Richard II and highlights the play’s importance as Shakespeare’s entry into the political discussions of his day.

Book Club with the Bard is a free event! Just call the box office to RSVP:
(404) 874-5299 x 0.

If you have any questions, e-mail Dani Herd at .

We’ll see you there!

Read the Plot Synopsis

Richard II Long Synopsis

by Leslie Smith

Henry Bolingbroke (son of Gaunt, the Duke of Hereford) and Mowbray (Duke of Norfolk) accuse each other of treason and plotting Gloucester’s death, in front of Richard. Each throws down a gage (gauntlet, nowadays) and they resolve to duel.

The Duchess of Gloucester prods Bolingbroke’s father, John of Gaunt, to avenge Gloucester’s death, plotted by Mowbray. Glouster and Gaunt are 2 of the 3 surviving sons of Edward II. Richard is their nephew. Gaunt cannot cross his King, saying, “God’s substitute (Richard), His deputy anointed in his sight, hath caused his death.”

Bolingbroke and Mowbray are about to fight when Richard banishes them, Bolingbroke for six years and Mowbray for life. He does this so “For that our kingdoms earth should not be soiled with that dear blood which it hath fostered.’ Richard later shortens Bolingbroke’s sentence to 6 years. Afterwards, King Richard jokes with his advisors (Bagot, Bushy, Green and Aumerle) about Bolingbroke’s banishment. They discuss Bolingbroke’s popularity with the common people and the need to raise money to fight the Irish by leasing out land and taking money from noblemen.

Gaunt, now sick, talks to his brother, York, of how England has lost its glory in being leased out to others. Richard arrives and Gaunt chastises him, saying “Landlord of England art thou, and not King.” Shortly afterwards, he dies and Richard seizes Gaunt’s possessions, which should have gone to Bolingbroke. Northumberland, Ross and Willoughby plan to meet Bolingbroke, who they hear is coming back to England with an army. They also describe how Richard has overtaxed and bankrupted the country.

Bushy and Bagot comfort the Queen on Richard’s departure to fight the Irish. Green announces that Bolingbroke and his forces have landed at Ravenspurgh. York tells how he will try to raise a force against Bolingbroke, although all of the noblemen have fled and the commoners are behind Bolingbroke. Bushy and Green plan to flee while Bagot plans to go to Richard. Bolingbroke, now back in England, meets Northumberland and his son, Harry, surnamed Hotspur. He tells them how Worcester, Northumberland’s brother, has forsaken his office and gone to Ravenspurgh to support the growing rebellion. Bolingbroke offers Percy his life-long thanks and devotion for his help and makes promises to Ross and Willoughby for their help. York arrives and accuses Bolingbroke and his troops of being traitors. Bolingbroke points out that he is only coming for his due and asks York to accompany them. York gives in, pretty much against his will, because he has no choice.

Meanwhile, the King’s forces, including a Welsh captain, are deserting right and left, as they see Bolingbroke’s forces grow. Bolingbroke captures Bushy and Greene, accuses them of treason and quickly executes them both. He offers the Queen “kind commends and Greetings.”

Richard finally arrives back in England, and receives all the bad news: general revolt; death of Bushy and Green; armies deserted and York joined with Bolingbroke. Richard proclaims despair in a famous speech. He says, “of comfort no man speak: Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs”. He retires to Flint Castle, “discharge my followers. From Richard’s night to Bolingbroke’s fair day.”

Bolingbroke sends Northumberland to tell Richard that he will lay down his arms if Richard repeals his banishment and restores Bolingbroke’s property to him. Richard grants Bolingbroke’s request, but then realizes that he is effectively relinquishing his power by doing so. He immediately comes to Bolingbroke and submits to him completely, “Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all.”

The queen and her ladies overhear some gardeners lamenting that Richard has not tended his country as well as they have tended their garden. The Queen hears that Richard is deposed and leaves in despair.

Richard II The Whole Story (unabridged synopsis) At Westminster, Bolingbroke asks Bagot who killed Gloucester. Bagot accuses Aumerle. Aumerle challenges Bagot and soon five or six people have challenged each other, most accusing Aumerle. Bolingbroke announces that he will bring back banished Norfolk (Mowbray) to try him, but he is informed that Norfolk is dead. Bolingbroke states that all challenges will wait until trial dates are set for everyone. York arrives to announce that Richard gives Bolingbroke his scepter. He accepts it and effectively accepts the Crown. The Bishop of Carlisle says that if this unnatural thing comes to pass, rebellion will rule England. He is arrested for his trouble. Richard arrives and, expressing his sorrow, gives Bolingbroke the crown. Northumberland asks Richard to publicly read a list of his crimes and Richard refuses. Bolingbroke tells Northumberland to stop demanding that Richard read his crimes and has Richard conveyed to the tower. The Bishop of Carlisle, Abbot of Westminster and Aumerle begin to plot a rebellion against Bolingbroke (now Henry IV).

Richard meets with the Queen for the last time and they say goodbye. Northumberland arrives to tell him that he is to be taken to Pomfret and the Queen to France. Richard warns Northumberland of how Henry will suspect him and think him rebellious (which is exactly what happens in Henry IV Part 1) York tells his wife, the Duchess of York, how the people greeted Henry and threw dirt on Richard. Aumerle, their son, arrives and York finds him with a letter plotting to overthrow Henry. York leaves to tell the King. The Duchess and Aumerle follow to stop him.

Bolingbroke laments how he has not seen his son (Prince Hal in Henry IV Part 1) and how Hal frequents the taverns. Aumerle arrives and asks for a pardon without saying for what. York arrives and tells Henry of his son’s plot. The Duchess arrives and pleads for her son on her knees. Henry pardons Aumerle, but declares that a force will be put together to capture and kill the other traitors.

Sir Pierce of Exton tells a servant of how he heard the King wishing for Richard’s death. He says, “I am the King’s friend, and will rid his foe.”

Richard, at Pomfret castle, talks to himself of how the prison has become his world. A stable boy arrives and pledges his service to Richard. Exton arrives and murders Richard.

Henry gets the news of victories against the rebel forces from Northumberland and Fitzwater. He thanks them both and promises that they will be rewarded. Hotspur, Northumberland’s son, arrives with captured Carlisle and Henry grants his life, saying that although an enemy, he has been noble. Exton arrives with Richard’s coffin. Henry laments Richard’s murder and pledges to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to wash the blood from his hands.

Director's Notes

Directed by Drew Reeves

Show Information


Act One - 80 min / 15 min intermission / Act Two - 65 min (Ending time is approx. 10:30pm/9:30pm Sun

Show Roles

Performances April 28 – May 13, 2018

Dramatis Personae

King Richard II - Lee Osorio*
Isabel, his Queen - Amee Vyas*
John of Gaunt - J. Tony Brown*
Henry Bolingbroke - Maurice Ralston*
Thomas Mowbray - Peter Hardy
The Duchess of York - Heidi Cline McKerley
Duke of Aumerle - Sean Kelley
The Duke of York - Troy Willis*
The Duchess of Gloucester - Heidi Cline McKerley
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland - Al Stilo
Harry Percy, Hotspur - Vinnie Mascola
Sir Henry Green - O’Neil Delapenha
Sir John Bushy - Chris Hecke
Sir John Bagot - Adam King
Lord Ross - Tamil Periasamy
Lord Willoughby - Peter Hardy
Earl of Salisbury - Patrick Galletta
Bishop of Carlisle - Charlie Thomas
Sir Stephen Scroop - Peter Hardy
Lord Fitzwater - Tamil Periasamy
Duke of Surrey - Chris Hecke
Abbot of Westminster - O’Neil Delapenha
Sir Pierce of Exton - Charlie Thomas
Lord Marshall - Tamil Periasamy
A Welsh Captain - Monica Malone
Gardener - Patrick Galletta
A groom of the stable of the King - O’Neil Delapenha
Keeper of the Prison at Pomfret - Payton Briggs Anderson
Herald - Payton Anderson
Ladies - Payton Briggs Anderson, Monica Malone

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Show Times
In general, shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm.

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (see below). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!

A note about bawdiness in Shakespeare: It exists. Despite what your English teacher taught you, Shakespeare wrote some pretty saucy lines and they pop up from time to time. While there is never any nudity on stage, our actors are trained to make the text clear. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show. It won’t happen often. If this Bardometer lists a play as a 1 or 2, you can rest assured that it is an appropriate show for kids under ten.

Additional Information