QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Leir
  • Author: Peter Cockett

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Peter Cockett
    Peer Reviewed

    King Leir

    180King Leir, Scene 27

    Captain: David Kynaston
    English Watchman 2: Phil Borg
    English Watchman 1: Scott Clarkson

    Once again the Queen's Men subverted our expectations moving from heroic action into broad comedy with the introduction of two comic English watchmen.

    Queen's Men Dramaturgy: Medley Style (Sc. 27)

    Read about the Queen's Men medley style in Scene 24

    Watchmen get a bad rap in Elizabethan plays: the watchmen in the Queen's Men's Famous Victories and Shakespeare's Dogberry, for example, are similarly lacking in their capacity to do their job. This scene is structured around an elaborate joke led by the Second Watchman and designed to persuade the First Watchman to abandon his post and come to the pub. It is the kind of comic rhetorical exchange, featuring repeated double-takes, that has been a feature of broad comedy down through the centuries. The scene justifies the ease with which the French landing is assured on English soil and establishes a slapstick quality that will be preserved through the climactic battle scenes. The stakes of the action are high but the comic tone predicts the happy outcome.

    Read about the Queen's Men medley style in later scenes

    Watch video of Scene 27 on the Performing the Queen's Men website. (The video footage is password protected. Click on "Cancel" in the pop-up window to obtain password.)