This trilogy presented by the Scottish National Theatre at Luminato was particularly interesting to see immediately after seeing Breath of Kings. The three plays, James I, James II and James III, were written by Rona Munro to bring to life a relatively unknow period of Scottish history. The period of history covered (1406-1488) is roughly contemporaneous with the period covered by Breath of Kings. But unlike Breath of Kings, where we are very familiar with the history and the plays, the James plays had the unusual advantage of being unfamiliar. This allowed the suspense to remain throughout, as we had no idea of how things would work out.
The staging was interesting. The use of the Hearn Generating Plant, which is huge, dank and decrepit had no trouble being a Scottsh castle. The theatre, built for this play, was a modified theatre in the round, with a small group of audience members sitting above and behind the stage. But that same area became part fo the stage, with many entrances and exits and orations taking place there.
A very experienced cast covered many parts each, moving from lead roles to spear carriers with aplomb.
I am glad we saw the plays, as they had such good reviews from around the world. As this was the only North American stop on the tour, it was a case of now or never. But once again, we realize what a fabulous gem we have here in Stratford, with actors and directors creating works that are the equal of anything anywhere.