In February and March and into the first week of April this year, the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington was presenting what it billed as two plays about leadership by the Bard, RichardII and HenryV, with the same actor, Michael Hayden, playing the title role in each. The gaudy display of Mr. Hayden’s range in the representation both of failed and successful leadership won his performances plaudits from The Washington Post as “the most charismatic work in Shakespeare the city has experienced in memory”—which some might call damning with faint praise. But to underscore the local, political angle, the company’s brochure about the production, called “Asides,” featured an interview with another charismatic figure, one William Jefferson Clinton, about his own thoughts on Shakespeare and leadership and, well,...


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