The Prenzie Players' King John at the QC Theatre Workshop -- April 20 through 29.

Friday, April 20, through Saturday, April 28

QC Theatre Workshop, 1730 Wilkes Avenue, Davenport IA

A dramatic and thrilling tale of bloodshed, betrayal, and bastards will be presented by the area's verse-theatre troupe the Prenzie Players when William Shakespeare's history play King John opens on April 20, its six-performance run at Davenport's QC Theatre Workshop a rare local staging of this noted work originally published in 1623, five years after the Bard's death.

Dramatizing the reign of England's king from 1199 to 1216, Shakespeare's fascinating historical account opens with King Richard I – the revered “Lionheart” – dead and his youngest brother John decreed the new King of England. The French, however, argue that the throne should belong to Arthur, the young son of John's deceased older brother Geoffrey. As war is declared between England and France, an inheritance dispute is brought before the King by the Faulconbridge family, and Queen Eleanor immediately recognises the elder Faulconbridge, known as the “Bastard,” as the illegitimate son of her favorite son Richard. What follows in the Prenzie Players' King John is a rich, thought-provoking saga involving international disputes, political machinations, excommunication, and majestic shifts in power, one that Kate Farence – who also helmed the company's productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Antony & Cleopatra – will bring to life with a gifted cast of 18.

John is portrayed by Jeremy Mahr, whose Shakespeare performances include roles in King Henry the Fourth for the Prenzie Players and As You Like It for Genesius Guild, with King John's Bastard played by Reader employee Nathan Klaus, a veteran of the Prenzies' Love's Labour's Lost and Doctor Faustus. Area-theatre favorite and Prenzie newcomer Susan Perrin-Sallak portrays Queen Eleanor, Arthur is enacted by Joe Brune, and the show's full ensemble also boasts Michael Carron, Andy Curtiss, Brody Ford, Mattie Gelaude, Mischa Hooker, Kitty Israel, Cole McFarren, Alana Pascarella, Angela Rathman, Joe Sager, Tracy Skaggs, Katie Stroming, Jessica Nicol White, and Denise Yoder.

King John runs April 20 through 28, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., and tickets $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information and reservations, call (563)484-4210 or visit PrenziePlayers.com.

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