The current prince of Wales is heir to the throne of England, still, at age 69. If he ever does become king, what sort of monarch would he be? Playwright Mike Bartlett imagines Charles' reign in his controversial play King Charles III
. Told in Shakespearean blank verse, the play imagines a Charles who isn't afraid to take a more active leadership role than his mother — or really any modern English monarch. Faced with giving his assent to a law he doesn't approve of, Charles refuses to give his permission, which just isn't done. Suddenly the figurehead king is an active participant in the governing of England, and the people are outraged. Charles has his own problems as well — the ghost of his first wife haunts him in private moments. St. Louis Shakespeare opens its new season with the tendentious King Charles III
. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (August 17 to 26) at the Ivory Theatre (7620 Michigan Avenue; www.stlshakespeare.org
). There is an additional performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 23. Tickets are $15 to $20.