Here’s a good fight between two very old fandoms, forever at odds: A cathedral in England plans to allow a touring company to perform the Shakespeare play Richard III under its holy roof. However, the play is rather harsh to the historical Richard III, whose mortal remains currently rest inspire the church, and his defenders are FURIOUS at this “humiliating” treatment.
That’s according to the Guardian. Historian and screenwriter Philippa Langley, who spearheaded the project which finally found the monarch’s long-missing body, is leading the charge once again. She wants the performance moved and “no future performances of any play or film that might be considered derisive or humiliating to the memory of the king be contemplated where, it is important to remember, the man himself now lies.” The play does portray Richard III, who died in 1485, as a very bad man and a “poisonous bunch-back’d toad”.
The Richard III Society has also released a statement condemning the move:
“It is both insensitive and disrespectful to stage a play that denigrates Richard III, an anointed king of England, in the very place where he was reburied with ‘dignity and honour’ only two years ago.
“Many people, and not just members of the Richard III Society, will be perplexed and disheartened at the prospect of this particular play being performed in the cathedral. We will make our feelings known to the cathedral authorities and will ask that their decision be reversed so that ‘dignity and honour’ can prevail.”
Some useful and important context to really appreciate this fight: Before the bones of Richard III were reinterred in Leicester Cathedral, they spent several centuries under what would become, literally, a goddamn parking lot. Also—accurately or not—much of England has spent the last several hundred years believing Richard III murdered his nephews so he could steal their throne. So the bar for “humiliating” and “derisive” is pretty much sky-high, here.
The Dean of Leicester, the Very Revd David Monteith, promised BBC East Midlands that the play would be “sensitive” to the ghost in the room, but said the production was going forward. “King Richard III lies in peace,” he said. “What we now know is that he belongs to the whole nation and not just to one section of people particularly committed to his story.”
Also, dude is dead as hell and therefore unlikely to care.