“All things are ready, if our minds be so.”
This Shakespearean epic follows a charismatic warrior King and his cohort through the brutality of warfare, as the ragtag band confronts heavy opposition and their own destinies in an aggressive pursuit of the French crown. Henry V is a deeply ambivalent play about leadership, and the power of language and storytelling to shape our collective identity. The play’s central question – What kind of leadership would it take to forge a resilience and unified band of brothers and sisters from a fractious and anxious group of individuals? – resonates with fresh urgency in our contemporary world.
HENRY V begins at the English court, where the young king is persuaded that he has a claim to the throne of France. When the French dauphin, or heir apparent, insults him by sending him tennis balls, Henry launches his military expedition to France.
Before departing, Henry learns that three of his nobles have betrayed him, and he orders their execution. Meanwhile, his old tavern companions grieve over Sir John Falstaff’s death, and then leave for France.
Henry and his army lay siege to the French town of Harfleur, which surrenders. The Princess of France, Katherine, starts to learn English, but the French nobles are sure of success against Henry. Instead, Henry’s forces win a great victory at Agincourt.
After a brief return to England, Henry comes back to France to claim his rights and to set up his marriage to Princess Katherine. The play’s epilogue points out that Henry will die young and that England will as a result lose most of his French territories.
Summary Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library.
The cast for Henry V will include the previously announced Emily Ota* in the title role, along with Duane Boutte*, Timothy Bright CC, Carl Howell*, Lennon Hu CC, Phoebe Lloyd CC, Melissa Mahoney*, Sean McNall*, Francis Pace-Nunez CC, Luis Quintero*, Kurt Rhoads*, Mayadevi Ross CC, Omar Shafiuzzaman*, Stephen Michael Spencer* and Nance Williamson*
Henry V will feature scenic design by Sandra Goldmark, costume design by Anya Klepikov, sound design and compositions by Fitz Patton and properties by Buffy Cardoza. Susannah Millonzi serves as movement director. The stage manager will be Jo Fernandez*.
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