Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction! This month, inspired by Lory’s Reading the Theatre, I thought it would be interesting to look at historical plays. Usually, when people talk about historical fiction, they are referring to novels, but it’s not just novelists who write about history – there are also many playwrights who have used real historical figures, events or settings as the basis for their plays.
The obvious place to start is with Shakespeare, the first name most of us probably think of when we think of history plays. I haven’t read any of his histories since I started blogging, so I’m afraid I don’t have any posts to share with you here – but I did re-read Macbeth a few years ago (a tragedy not a history, but very loosely based, of course, on the historical king Macbeth) and put together a selection of quotes.
Other than Shakespeare, I have read or seen very few plays which could be described as historical, although there are some I’m familiar with from the film versions, such as The Lion in Winter and A Man for All Seasons. There are also plenty of examples of stage musicals like Les Miserables, but they started life as historical novels rather than plays, so are not really what I’m looking for here. I’ve found some useful lists on Wikipedia and Goodreads, but I’m sure those of you who are more avid theatre-goers or play readers than I am will have some recommendations.
Have you read or been to see any historical plays? Have you missed going to the theatre during the pandemic?