In the spirit of addictive epic sagas like Scandal and House of Cards, tensions build as the origin stories of Shakespeare’s most iconic rulers unfold with surprising poignancy and humor. Fueled by live music and stunning staging, Chicago Shakespeare Artistic Director Barbara Gaines’ electrifying adaptation distills six Shakespeare plays into two action-packed dramas, tracing the rise and fall of kings and the uncommon courage of common men. The adventure begins in the spring with Foreign Fire—laying bare England’s war with France in Edward III, Henry V and Henry VI, Part 1, and the very personal consequences on all who bear arms. The story continues in the fall as focus shifts to the homefront in Civil Strife. Family divisions launch a country at war with itself in Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3 and Richard III—and nobility and commoners alike pay the price.