Camilla, William, Kate and Harry join Charles in Mike Bartlett’s “future history play,” exploring the people beneath the crown in King Charles III at Pasadena Playhouse. This “contemporary Shakespearean drama”, directed by Michael Michetti, is the Los Angeles premiere of the 2015 Olivier Award-winner for best new play. Michetti is very busy these days having just directed the stellar production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession at A Noise Within, directing King Charles for the Playhouse and in February he directs Streetcar at Boston Court.
So what exactly can we expect from King Charles III? “A terrifically smart and fun play,” says Michetti, who first saw it and loved it on Broadway two years ago and is loving directing it now. He explains that the concept of the play is that it takes place at some point in the future and begins with the death of Elizabeth II and the story is about the transition of Prince Charles to King Charles. “The characters in the play are people we know including Charles and Camilla, William and Kate and Harry,” says Michetti, “and the really smart and wonderful thing that Mark Bartlett has done is to write the play in the style of a Shakespeare history play. So it is a play with all of these familiar characters but told with the structure and style, frequently in blank verse and many of the familiar tropes in Shakespeare history plays.”
Michetti goes on to tell us that King Charles III is part tabloid royal family retelling, part political thriller and part Shakespeare tragic hero story, “all thrown together in a blender!” The play promises to be very entertaining with lots of drama, action and comedy. “It’s very funny,” says Michetti, “some of the humor comes from our familiarity with the royal family and what we expect of them and part of it too, is that although we see them in public settings and in the tabloids, we rarely ever see them behind closed doors.” Seeing the fictionalized private lives of the royals is rather intriguing. Who among us hasn’t wondered about it?
And for those who might be intimidated by the Shakespearean language Michetti says that it is actually tremendously accessible, “it’s all modern language; you can hear the verse in it but the language is not archaic..the language itself is contemporary.” And Michetti has high praise for the actors saying “we were lucky enough to find the finest actors who happen to bear enough resemblance to imply what we know about these people. They emulate some of the qualities that we know about them but are not impersonating them. Not only is this cast tremendously talented and suited for their roles but there is a great feeling of camaraderie, spirit and enthusiasm about the play.”
Clearly Michetti is excited about premiering King Charles III, exclaiming, “one of the beautiful things about this play is that it is so wonderfully crafted that every time we dug deeper or asked a more challenging question, the play would totally support it. It’s so smartly written it is just a treat for all of us to work on.”
The cast includes Jim Abele as Prince Charles, Laura Gardner as Camilla, Adam Haas Hunter as William, Meghan Andrews as daughter-in-law Kate, Dylan Saunders as Harry, Sarah Hollis as Harry’s love interest and Nike Doukas as the family ghost. The cast is rounded out by J. Paul Boehmer as the Prime Minister, Mark Capri as publicity counsel, Carie Kawa as the opposition leader, along with Amielynn Abellera, Dileep Rao, Robert Beddall, Eamon Hunt, Bo Foxworth and Abe Martell.
King Charles III opens Sunday November 12 and runs through December 3 at Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Avenue in Pasadena. For tickets and information www.pasadenaplayhouse.org