The play A Man for All Seasons, at Cincinnati Shakespeare, and written by Robert Bolt, is an absolute must-see. It is the story of Sir Thomas More, outstanding lawyer, friend and strong supporter of King Henry the VIII for many years. Who finally, as a loyal Catholic in this time of turmoil throughout Europe, is pushed to the brink, and is unable to affirm and support Henry’s creation of himself as the leader of the Church of England, so that Henry can marry Anne Boleyn.
The casting and acting are pure magic, the whole stage and theater are used, the staging is simple and powerful. And the words – the glorious writing, the history clear and simple, Jeremy Dubin’s The Common Man illustrating in word and deed the underlying issues. Bruce Cromer as More, Nick Rose as Thomas Cromwell, Jim Hopkins as Henry the VIIIth – this is a magnificent play by, for and about men.
Cromwell, who willingly takes the lead from the capricious and willful Henry in pursuing and finally executing Sir Thomas, is himself executed 5 years later. And Henry dies not long after of syphilis. None of them ended well. But the shining star of Thomas’ integrity certainly shown the brightest – he knew what he would and would not do, what he valued, knew the price he would pay, and went ahead and paid it – unlike so many other historical characters in the play.
I could play the Devil’s Advocate, and accuse Thomas of stubbornness. Which is certainly true, on the one hand. On the other, he gave Henry absolutely as much love, and decision-making room, and support as his Soul / Self could. When he was out of room, Sir Thomas More simply stood fast.
This incredible classic is playing through October 2, so you still have time! You will be talking and thinking about it for a long time.