A deadly game of thrones takes center stage

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) continues its expedition through Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses tetralogy with The Fall of King Henry (Henry VI, Part 3) opening September 7 at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

In Shakespeare’s brilliant, brutal, and innovative play, England’s royal cousins come head-to-head in a deadly power struggle that forever alters the course of England’s history. The House of Lancaster, led by the fearsome Queen Margaret, plots revenge and counter-revenge against the House of York, led by Richard and his sons: Edward (who becomes Edward IV), George, and Richard Duke of Gloucester (who becomes King Richard III). Patricide, filicide, regicide, extreme cruelty, and fierce love: Shakespeare holds nothing back in the thrilling final chapter in the life of King Henry VI.

“This fierce game of thrones between the Houses of Lancaster and York, though written 400 years ago, feels right on time to me. Can humans achieve peace from a long history of blood and revenge? Is the better leader one who achieves peace by eradicating opposition by force, or one who compromises with enemies?” asks co-director Jenny Bennett. “This glorious play is peopled with some of the best speakers in Shakespeare’s canon wrestling with that central tension of civilization. Audiences will revel in Chris Johnston’s beautiful Henry, Allison Glenzer’s battle-queen Margaret, Benjamin Reed’s lush Edward, and René Thornton Jr’s delightfully wicked Richard, all of them wrapped in Jenny McNee’s rich armor and costume design.”

The Fall of King Henry features Allie Babich, Lauren Ballard, Greg Brostrom, Allison Glenzer, Josh Innerst, Chris Johnston, David Anthony Lewis, Shunté Lofton, Benjamin Reed, Tim Sailer, Christopher Seiler, and René Thornton Jr.

The Fall of King Henry opens September 7 at the Blackfriars Playhouse. Pay-what-you-will performance is on September 9. Pre-show lectures are on September 27 and October 12. Actor talkbacks occur after every Thursday night performance. Best seats start at $54 on weekends. Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County can take advantage of $18 mid-week local rush tickets on Wednesday and Thursday night performances. Military, AAA, senior, and student discounts are available. Tickets and more information are available at www.americanshakespearecenter.com or by calling the box office at 1.877.MUCH.ADO.