An augury of the discovery of Richard III’s bones?

Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having little or no money in my purse and nothing particular to interest me on shore–I wandered with one of my sons over to the Lower East Side, where we discovered a highly improbable production of one of Shakespeare's history plays. 

The stage was a parking lot, where drifters, extras, and other supernumeraries wandered idly hither and yon, a procession that continued even after the play started. The king's throne was mounted atop what I recall as being an old Chevy, but it could have been a Buick or a Studebaker for all I know. The car would occasionally move him downstage or up, whether under its own power or under the influence of stage crew hidden somewhere underneath, we could not tell.

So I was interested to read this week that the bones of a Shakespearean figure, Richard III, had been found in Leicester, in the ruins of the Greyfriars Priory–under a parking lot. The discovery could lead to a new view of what some believe was a misunderstood man, as John F. Burns writes in The New York Times:

“I think he wanted to be found, he was ready to be found, and we found him, and now we can begin to tell the true story of who he was,” said Philippa Langley, a writer who has been a longtime and fervent member of the Richard III Society, an organization that has worked for decades to bring what it sees as justice to an unjustly vilified man. “Now,” Ms. Langley added, “we can rebury him with honor, and we can rebury him as a king.”

This is a delightful story, made more so by the Shakespeare connection, especially for those of us who would never have heard of the guy if not for Shakespeare's dark and fearful tale.

And, yes, as you've probably surmised, the play that my son and I saw in the parking lot was…Richard III.

-Paul Raeburn

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