Ithaca, N.Y. — The Ithaca Shakespeare Company will be performing five Shakespeare plays over a two-year period starting this February at the Hangar Theatre, according to an announcement this month from the players.

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The theater company has condensed eight of the bard’s scripts to five — one for each of the following English kings: Richard II; Henry IV; Henry V; Henry VI and Richard III.

Richard II, which tells the quasi-historical tale of a king in the 1300s who (spoiler alert!) loses the throne to cousin Henry Bolingbroke, will be playing from Feb. 13 to Feb. 15 and Feb. 19 to Feb. 21, 2015.

After that, the performances will alternate between indoor productions at the Hangar and outdoor summer productions at the Cornell Plantations. The “history” plays constitute “the original Game of Thrones … full of life and variety” and the immortal character Falstaff, ISC Artistic Director Stephen Ponton said in a statement.

“I think this will be one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done,” Ponton said. “The history plays are my favorites of all of Shakespeare’s works, and collectively I think they are his single greatest achievement. These are absolutely not dry, dusty history lessons.”

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the performances:

— Richard II at Hangar | February 2015

— Henry IV at Cornell Plantations | July 2015

— Henry V at Hangar | February 2016

— Henry VI at Cornell Plantations | July 2016

— Richard III at Hangar | Fall 2016

Linked performances

The ISC says, “Each production in this series will be connected to the ones before and after it through introductions and linking scenes, so that they form a single continuous narrative.”

“We’re approaching it kind of like a movie franchise,” Ponton says in the press release. “We hope people will be able to experience the whole sequence, so we’re working hard to tie the stories together and make them clear. So don’t worry if you’re not familiar with these plays or have found them confusing in the past.”

Last year, the Ithaca Shakespeare Company performed The Tempest at the Hangar Theatre. (It was very good, this Ithaca Voice author can attest!)

Evening shows of Richard II will be at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 4 pm. Tickets available soon.

YouTube roundup

We’ve decided to give you a bit of a taste for Richard II, including the famous “Sceptered Isle” speech in which the king realizes the limitations of power.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.