It was a dark and stormy night. Thomas Swann is in his favourite pub, the
Duck and Whistle. He’s rehearsing the role of King Richard in
Shakespeare’s Richard III. The King’s name is a tower of strength… Hmmm. I could play it quietly: The King’s
name is a tower of strength… or angrily: The King’s name is a tower of
strength… Here you go Mr Will, Mr Thomas, two more ales. Will, how should I play this line? What is
Richard’s motivation here? Thomas, Thomas, don’t you understand?
King Richard is about to go into battle. The opposing army has six or seven thousand men. That’s a lot of men! Richard is not afraid. He has three times
that number of soldiers. Twenty thousand men – that’s a big army! Yes, but Richard has something more powerful
than even the greatest army. He has his name: King Richard. That name makes him strong; powerful.
It makes ordinary people fear and respect him. So the name King Richard is as strong as a tower… Exactly. Richard’s enemies don’t have that. So this line needs strength and confidence. Yes. This play is about power – and what people
will do to get it. Let us rehearse. I am Norfolk, your general. Six or seven thousand is their utmost power. Why, our battalion trebles that account. Besides,
the King’s name is a tower of strength Which they upon the adverse party want. You have it! Well done! I’ll drink to that.
Another jug of ale! Here you are sir. We’ll leave them there for now. Alex Ferguson was like a father to me. He
was a tower of strength. My husband was a tower of strength when I
had that operation – he really looked after me well. Mr Will, a message from your wife. She says if you’re not home in five minutes,
don’t bother coming home ever again. The old ball and chain at it again, eh?
Come on Will, have another beer! Hmmm… To beer, or not to beer:
that is the question.