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Short Description of thru 8/23 - Henry V (review)

Henry V

Shakespeare & Co

70 Kemble St

Lenox, MA

shakespeare.org

 

Azincourt, France. October 25, 1415, a Friday. No one knows for sure what was going through the mind of young Henry V, an unripened twenty eight year old heir to the English throne for two years now. He had inherited not just the powers his father, Henry IV, left him, but the misery of the Hundred Years War with France, which his father left him, as well. Henry stared across the field at the thousands of dead bodies scattered before him, looking for the battle colors to determine if he won or lost. The tally arrives: He won. The dead and dying were mostly five-to-one French nobility. The English had been vastly outnumbered, but fought admirably, ringing up one of the resounding victories of the war.

 

How to portray Henry V had to be a difficult task for Director Jenna Ware at Shakespeare & Co, where “Henry V” is playing thru August 23rd. Did she choose Henry the Patton—tall, bold, a seasoned battle ax? Or did she choose Henry the Boy, preoccupied with love, wavering, unsure of himself?

 

 

She chose the latter, and picked the familiar face of Ryan Winkles. He is young, adept, chiseled, at war, inexperienced, and in love with the French princess. He is gullible and naïve, finding himself in battle and then in love, where his awkwardness with both was new but conquering. So smitten and preoccupied, our Henry can hardly muster a rebel yell when giving his rousing Band of Brothers speech on St. Crispin's Day. But that's ok. Kinghood was thrust upon him, and he was more kid than Patton. Winkles nails this role of the young, unseasoned King thrown into power and war, before he ever learned the wisdom each requires.

 

In short, Patton was once a kid, too.

 

 

 

The direction in this work by Jenna Ware is utterly brilliant. She hand picked a five star seasoned team of actors an actresses, including her real life husband, Jonathan Croy. The stage and set was simple—as Shakespeare would tell you, “Your imagination is the best scenery”. The lighting, effects, and fusion of characters are fluid and exact. Shakespeare has women playing male roles, as Shakespeare & Co has done with much success in the past. But to make it more difficult, each actor and actress plays the roles of several different characters. The transitions are uniform and fluid. One scene you are standing with Henry looking at the damage he inflicted. With a dim of the lights, you are seeing the French perspective. The result is a collage of authentic Shakespeare.

 

 

There are no weak links in this cast. David Joseph is consistently a versatile actor, as is Ware's husband, Jonathan Croy. We could go on, but a hand picked cast under the absolutely intact direction by Ware gives this show a double thumbs up.

 

--Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend.com

 

Ware’s production of Henry V features Caroline Calkins as Bishop of Ely, Boy, Katherine; Jonathan Croy as Chorus, Westmoreland, Pistol, French King, Soldier; Kelly Galvin as Chorus, Monk, Scroop, Constable, Governor, Soldier, Burgoine;Jennie M. Jadow as Chorus, Grey, Bardolf, Orleans, Alice, Erpingham, Soldier; Tom Jaeger as Chorus, Exeter, Fluellen, soldier; David Joseph as Bishop of Canterbury, Nym, York, Dauphin; Sarah Jeanette Taylor as Chorus, Monk, Mountjoy, Hostesse, Cambridge, Gower, Soldier; and Ryan Winkles as Henry V.  

 

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Address: 70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA 01240, USA

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