King John is not one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. It hardly seems to be played at all. I can only find reference to two filmed productions, one in 1952 and the BBC production in 1984. It was immensely popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, according to the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, but has completely fallen out of favour since then.
This is surprising, given its sardonic coverage of the shifting allegiances of international politics. Perhaps it’s about time for a revival. In the meantime, it’s definitely worth a playread.
Players-Shakespeare.com provides playreading castings for 6 to 11 playreaders, and in our view, the play-reading is likely to go best, if you have 11 players. On the sidebar to the right, you’ll find castings for 6 – 8 players. You’ll also find links to castings for 9 – 11 players below:
If a full play-reading of King John is a bit too much for this not well-known play, you might like to get an idea of the play, by playing one of the extracts we’ve published in “Let’s Play”:
- The bastardy of Philip Faulconbridge (2nd half of A1S1 of King John)
- The near-blinding of (Prince) Arthur
You’ll find castings for these two scenes on the sidebar to the right.
If you’re not interested in King John at all, you can check out the other plays and extracts we’ve published at the following links:
If you’ve decided to play King John, each player needs to select one of the following roles to play, and clicking on the link will take them to a script of the play which shows their role in Highlit Text (the lines for their character(s) are highlit in a colour; other speakers lines are shown in conventional black on white). If you prefer to read in Parts and Cues format, open the Configuration Window (click on the gear-wheel), switch on the radio button for “Parts and Cues”, and close the Configuration window by clicking on the gear-wheel again.
There’s a couple of points worth noting: there’s a special character called ‘All’ which is normally spoken by everyone; if one part is particularly long, we sometimes swap that role with one of the smaller roles at the interval so we hear two versions of the character.
King John casting for 11:-
Note: No players have to talk to themselves in different roles with this casting.
After each player has beem allocated a role, (we do it by lot) they should click on the link for the appropriate Player No., which will take them to A1S1 of the play, with their role(s) highlit in colour, in the scenes in which they appear. Each character is highlit in a different colour.
When everyone has selected their role, let the reading commence.
When you’ve read the play, there’s a number of things you can do:
Gives us feedback on how your playreading went (good or bad) at Players-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page
Choose another piece for 2, 3, 4, or more players to read from: Playreadings for 2 players
Choose another play to read from: Playreadings of Complete Plays