|Henry V | July 21 – August 20|
by William Shakespeare
directed by Mark Mineart
A gifted young English king makes a rash decision to go to war. Against overwhelming odds, Henry V achieves heroic stature, leading his country to victory, conquering France and winning its princess. But there’s a terrible cost in human life and ruthless acts of moral ambiguity. In a propulsive, provocative production with contemporary resonances, Shakespeare’s rousing history crowns Henry’s complicated three-play journey from disaffected prince to legendary king.
|Thursday, July 21, 7:30 p.m. (Preview)|
|Friday, July 22, 7:30 p.m. (Opening)|
|Saturday, July 30, 7:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday, August 3, 7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, August 6, 7:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 7, 1:00 p.m.|
|Thursday, August 11, 7:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 14, 7:00 p.m. (Post Show Discussion)|
|Tuesday, August 16, 7:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday, August 17, 1:00 p.m.|
|Saturday, August 20, 1:00 p.m.|
|Kathleen Payton Brown
|Sarah Devon Ford
Assistant Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
| Bill Van Horn
| Tim Kopacz
| Blythe Coons
From the Director
Henry V, the fourth play in Shakespeare’s history of the War of the Roses, directly follows the events of Henry IV, 1 & 2. Yes, even in Shakespeare’s day there were sequels. Henry V appears in those two plays as Prince Hal, the son and heir of King Henry IV who wrested England from Richard II. Sounds rather like a soap opera, doesn’t it? Throughout Henry IV, 1 & 2, Hal practiced a rather cunning version of what we might call today, “Under Promise, Over Deliver;” relentlessly playing the truant and party boy, shaming his father and lowering expectations until no one thought him worth much of anything. However, Prince Hal was just biding his time until the perfect moment to cast off his cloak of disgrace and indulgence and step into the light as a true son and heir of England.
Once reason I adore this play is because it is unapologetically theatrical and declares its intentions in its very first words. There was no ‘fourth wall’ in Shakespeare’s day and actors walked the boards playing to, for, and with their audiences freely and frankly. Many contemporary actors become wrapped up in “being real” and “feeling it,” and making things “believable.” These are concerns that no actor in Shakespeare’s day would ever have entertained. Shakespeare’s goal wasn’t to get audiences to believe what was happening on stage, the goal was to get audiences to help create what was happening on stage. And nowhere is this more clearly put forward than in the opening chorus of Henry V. The Chorus enjoins the audience to let the actors on their “imaginary forces work,” and goes further saying, “Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them,” and requesting that audiences “Into a thousand parts divide one man,” so as to populate the armies of England and of France.
This is not an actor boasting, “we will make it so real for you that you’ll forget where you are,” this is the Chorus making the fundamental agreement with the audience that lies at the heart of all great theatre, “We are here together, making this story together, and without your imagination and participation all of what we actors do can come but to nothing.” You, as the audience, are the final character and actor in our play. The one we have never met nor gotten to rehearse with. And tonight we will all finally get the chance to play together.
It is our hope that our work on the stage will open a door for your imagination to walk through, creating between us something powerful and personal and unique to this group of people in this moment and in this place. Thank you and enjoy the show!