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DARK SOVEREIGN: The Tragedy of King Richard the Third that William Shakespeare Should Have Written by Robert Fripp

DARK SOVEREIGN: The Tragedy of King Richard the Third that William Shakespeare Should Have Written

by Robert Fripp

240 pages
'Dark Sovereign': Antidote to the bias of Shakespeare's 'Richard III'

Paperback $17.95   + $5.95 shipping & handling (USA)
(add $2.00 S&H per additional copy)
Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
For the first time in four centuries a modern writer challenges William Shakespeare head-on, writing in English as it was available to the Bard. Shakespeare wrote 'The Tragedy of Richard the Third' as Tudor propaganda for the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, portraying King Richard as a misshapen sociopath and killer.

Robert Fripp, the former Series Producer at CBC-TV's investigative 'The Fifth Estate' program, wrote Dark Sovereign over a period of four years. 'Dark Sovereign' counter-attacks Shakespeare's polemic, offering a researched, balanced tale of Richard's troubled reign.

"At last!" comments New York director Nathaniel Merchant. "Here is the antidote to the scurrilous but seductive play by Shakespeare. Fripp shocks with his skillful and uncanny use of verse and his portrait of Richard as a man, not a caricature or stock villain".

"It’s not wildly revisionist", says Fripp. "Dark Sovereign seldom gives Richard’s character more benefit of the doubt than you find in many historical sources. Richard was caught between a rock and a hard place in a smoldering civil war (England’s Wars of the Roses) that went up in flames. Dark Sovereign dramatizes the snake-pit of that conflict with a human, not a demonic, face".

"This is the most courageous thing I ever saw in theatre," Samuel Liff, Senior Theatrical Agent at William Morris, told Jennifer Watts, Fripp's agent. "It's a good play, too."

Art historian Claude Marks, a lecturer at New York's Metropolitan Museum, called 'Dark Sovereign' "a cultural accomplishment of the highest order".

Not only that: Dark Sovereign runs longer than 'Hamlet'. Overnight it wins the mantle of being the longest play written in Renaissance English.


Dark Sovereign is very clever—in fact it's brilliant! Much, much more than pseudo-Shakespeare.
Mavor Moore, Actor, Playwright, Producer, Teacher, Former Chair of the Canada Council

At last! Here is the antidote to the scurrilous but seductive play by Shakespeare. Fripp shocks with his skillful and uncanny use of verse and his portrait of Richard as a man, not a caricature or stock villain.
Nathaniel Merchant
Director of theatre and opera, New York

Dark Sovereign is a cultural accomplishment of the highest order.
Claude Marks
Art historian, lecturer at New York's Metropolitan Museum

This is the most courageous thing I ever saw in theater. A good play, too.
Samuel Liff, Senior Theatrical Agent, William Morris Agency, N.Y. to Jennifer Watts, the author's agent

I was pleased to hear there is a new play on Richard III. It's about time. Good luck to you! I wish you every success.
Sandra Worth
Author, The Rose of York: Love and War

Dark Sovereign is a quite remarkable play.
Harry J. Boyle
Dramatist, Former Head CBC Radio Drama and Chair of the Canada Council

God, I love it. A real actors' play. Dark Sovereign is full of marvellous lines.
Morris Good, to the author
Actor, Stratford Festival; Faculty of Drama, Memorial University, Nfld.

It's wonderful. I'm so impressed. Dark Sovereign is such a brilliant blend of imagination and effort and intelligence. What an amazing adventure this is.
Reva Stern, to the author
Former Artistic Director, the Leah Posluns Theatre, Toronto

As a tour de force, it would have been impressive on the linguistic level alone, but becomes quite wonderful when you add to this the reworking of the historical sources, the allusive revisionism vis-à-vis Shakespeare, and the sheer dramatic inventiveness… The parts I was especially struck by included … your handling of the wooing of Anne, which struck me as brilliantly-revised Shakespeare: its placement as 1.1, the skill at keeping up the tension one remembers from the prototype while rendering a much higher level of psychological plausibility and registering values that resonate throughout the rest of the play, all this with a combination of playfulness and long-range deep earnestness (also good tone-setting)—damn good.
From a letter by John Meagher to the author
Professor of English and Theology, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto

I have read Dark Sovereign with interest, and am impressed by the work's ambition, erudition and intelligence.
Northrop Frye, in a letter to the author
Late, Chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto

Dark Sovereign is the result of painstaking research and remarkable patience… You've chosen a challenging route, one avoided by other contemporary playwrights like Bond and Stoppard who reconstruct Shakespeare from a modern perspective… I'd be very interested in seeing this staged.
Susan Hardy Butler
Faculty of English, University of Toronto

Thank you for the fascinating play by Robert Fripp. Great fun. Quite an extraordinary academic achievement.
Brian Bedford, to the author's agent
Actor/Director, Stratford Festival

This is most interesting, a "tour de force" indeed! You have obviously steeped yourself in seventeenth century English, and the play reads very well.
P.W. Hammond
President, The Richard III Society

Your detailed notes about your research into language appropriate for Dark Sovereign also is impressive. No. Damned impressive.… I feel certain that a genuine study of your play would be a delightful experience.… [It] wants a full-fledged professional production, … directed by a director with genuine expertise in directing Shakespeare with respect and love and dedication to the script.
Louis E. Catron
Professor of Theatre Emeritus, College of William and Mary, Virginia



About the Author
British author Robert Fripp has written several internationally published books. His fictive 'Power of a Woman' finds Eleanor of Aquitaine writing her memoirs. Now, Fripp becomes the first author in four centuries to write fluent Renaissance English as his Dark Sovereign firmly rebuts Shakespeare’s 'Tragedy of Richard the Third'.



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