Comedy/Drama. By David Emerson Toney.
Cast: 3m., 1w. Kingdom, an urban meditation on Shakespeare's Richard III, takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1968. Twenty-eight-year-old Ricky-Trey York, afflicted with a lesser form of cerebral palsy, is a true innocent who wrongly believes that two decades ago he murdered another boy in a fit of rage. Never leaving his second-floor apartment for fear of arrest, Ricky has a genius IQ with the social skills of a 10-year-old. Eddie-Ray York, Ricky's brother, is joyous over the recent death of Henry Caster, the mortal enemy of the York clan. Long ago, the departed Henry had had an affair with Eddie's stepmother, which caused the dangerous domino effect of the birth of Ricky, the suicide of Eddie's father, and a revenge murder committed by Eddie and his brother Clarence. But today, Caster's death is sweet, and it frees Eddie to seize the future for his kingdom—consisting of a used car lot and barbecue shack. In his eyes, Ricky is not a true York and Clarence is a fool, and Eddie quickly realizes that without a son and heir the York kingdom may be lost. So he offers Lena Santos, Caster's ex-housekeeper, five thousand dollars for the chance to bear his child. On the run for actions at a Vietnam War protest that went horribly wrong, the twenty-something needs money to reach Canada before the FBI catches up, and she accepts Eddie's proposition. It is Lena's presence that sets Ricky's innocent and comic world on a collision course with Eddie's hellish world of revenge. When Lena ends up pregnant by Ricky instead of Eddie, the story climaxes with a confession from Clarence about the family's dark past and Ricky's discovery that Eddie murdered his mother. Unit set. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.