Still in full-swing preparation for the screening of King John next week; I’ve been asking around to see if it’s just me who remembers John Wayne but not King John. As it turns out, if I’m not in good company, at least I’m not alone. Of all the people I asked in a mostly random survey of all my phone contacts and some cooperative sidewalk users; only a few could lay claim to reading it. Many expressed remorse at having not read it, and wished to in the future. When asked why they hadn’t read it the response was largely thus: I’ve only read the Shakespeare we read in school. Fair enough.

So, should we be bringing dear old King John into the classroom? Is it important enough to beset our children’s brains with the life and death of a royal Johnny? Should we all be a little more John-aware?

Armed with these and other burning questions, I headed to the Toronto Reference Library to question some librarians on King John, why they felt he is so frequently forgotten, and where they think his place might be.

Unfortunately, of the two librarians on duty when I accosted the information desk, neither had read the play. I posed my other questions, and they agreeably pondered with me the merits of teaching history plays. While we couldn’t come to a complete solution to the king John dilemma; it was found unanimous that we could all use to be a little more King John-aware.

So, have you read King John? I think you should. Not too enthused about the written word? Come down the Beaches Branch of the Toronto Public Library on June seventh at 2 pm and join me for a free screening and get you King John on.


Author Catherine Spence

A Shakespeare-loving, Toronto-based bibliophile. Loves music, art, history, classical texts, languages, food, and performance. Dislikes frozen peas. Attended Regent's University London.

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