Adaption, Direction, Sound Design, and Composition
I chose Henry V to contrast our previous production of Much Ado About Nothing which was done in period dress on a recreation of the globe stage. I wanted a script that dealt clearly and directly with meta-theatrical themes and questions that we could stage in a more abstract and modern way.
This would provide an example of stylistic variety for our students and would allow me to use theatricality to clarify Shakespeare’s script. And theatricality is so important to this script. When the Chorus is telling us how all of England is on fire ready to fight for Henry pistol and crew come on complaining about how terrible it is to go to war. Throughout the play shakespeare carefully juxtaposes speech and imagery to create meaning. We extended this leaving "dead" costumes on the stage after each battle as well as large tapestries that we could pull down connecting the set and the fabric to the action and violence of the play.
In addition to paying attention to the visuals written into the script we also increased the impact of some moments by bringing them on stage. We beheaded Bardolf on stage and after the boy is ambushed by three soldiers Mistress Quickly comes on to help him out of his costume which is left on stage as she escorts him off.
Photos by Christopher Plummer and Thomas Young