February 4-April 6, 2018
Published : Wednesday, January 17, 2018 | 6:25 PM
A Noise Within (ANW) presents its first production of Shakespeare’s history play Henry V, co-directed by Artistic Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott. ANW streamlines the story into a dynamic thrill ride infused with modern relevance.
Geoff Elliott says, “Henry V is a play about going to war, and the propulsive energy that leads us to conflict. We’ve zeroed in on the conflict between Henry and France, and captured the unifying, almost euphoric energy that comes with having a shared enemy. While the play is not explicitly for or against war, it does provide an in-depth look at the politics of war and our thirst for conflict. Ours is a very physical, visceral production: we have three fight choreographers and a live percussionist. Expect a fast, furious, and ferocious evening.”
The stark scenic design by frequent ANW contributor Frederica Nascimento evokes an arena. The simple set features oversized staircases that resemble bleachers and theatrical lights hung on a cross-shaped scaffold, inviting audience members to bring their own imaginations to the proceedings. “We want audience members to feel engaged from the moment they walk in. We want them to feel like spectators at a coliseum,” says Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, “We think this configuration of our space both reflects the theatricality of the play and reinforces the notion of war as sport.”
Henry V is the fourth play in the company’s 2017-18 season, whose recurring theme is ‘Entertaining Courage.’ Julia Rodriguez-Elliott says, “Henry fights for what he believes in. He is a charismatic, complicated, and very human leader. The play resonates in the here and now because it tells us about war and its costs. It also speaks about how personalities and leaders can affect the course of history.”
The cast includes Rafael Goldstein* as Henry; Kasey Mahaffy* as Nym, Dauphin; Jeremy Rabb* as Exeter and Bardolph; Michael Uribes* as French Ambassador, Cambridge, Bates, Montjoy; Cassandra Marie Murphy* as Queen Isabel and Mistress Quickly; Frederick Stuart* as Pistol and Charles VI; Apollo Dukakis* as Canterbury, Sir Thomas Erpingham, Burgundy; Stephen Weingartner* as Westmorland and Williams; Erika Soto* as Katherine and Boy; Johnathan Wallace as Salisbury and Britain; Collin Bressie as Sir Thomas Grey and Bedford; McCall Cadenas as Messenger; Marc Leclerc as Fluellen and Gloucester; Michael Phillip Thomas as Gower and Governor of Harfleur; Tim Curle playing Percussion; Celina Surniak as Ensemble; and Mollie Wilson as Ensemble.
Scenic Design is by Frederica Nascimento; Costume Design by Angela Balogh Calin; Lighting Design by Ken Booth; Original Music Composition/Sound Design by Robert Oriol; Wig/Make-Up Design by Klint Flowers; Fight Choreography by Kenneth R. Merckx, Jr.; and Costume Shop Manager is Maria Uribe.
The Story of Henry V
Shakespeare’s Henry V (written in 1599) is the last of eight history plays that the playwright composed relatively early in his career. These plays concern historical events during the years 1398-1485, particularly the struggles for the British throne between warring branches of the Plantagenet family and Britain’s ongoing wars with France.
The Guardian remarked on “the play’s extraordinary, shape-shifting ability to mirror the national mood and to reflect our current feelings about the war.”
Marjorie Garber, writing in Shakespeare After All, said, “What is at stake is English history and English heroism … the [chorus is] more numerous and insistent, reminding the audience at every turn that illusion is illusion. While the topic of Henry V is history, its mode of presentation is drama, and dramatic fiction …[is] announcing the immediacy and currency of ‘history’ for the present day. In Henry V, history is “now and England” when it is retold, rewritten, or presented on stage. History in the theatre is to be played over and over, and it constitutes the epitaph for those who die in war. The audience is urged, by the use of its imagination, working collaboratively with the author and with the actors, to re-create the world of Henry V and to render his time bound victory – soon to be lost through the weakness of his son and successor, the child-king Henry VI – timeless in memory and power.”
“The play the audience has been watching is only an illusion, forged in the working-house of [Shakespeare’s] thought. The conventional request for applause returns the power to the audience, where it has always been. What we are asked to approve is a spectacle of victory and a concept of kingship, that is finally only an idea, precariously achieved and too easily lost.”
Entertaining Courage – A Raisin in the Sun
In spring 2018, A Raisin in the Sun [February 25 to April 8, 2018] by Lorraine Hansberry plays in rotating repertory with Henry V, and the season closes with a revival of one of ANW’s most popular productions, Noises Off (April 21 through May 20) by Michael Frayn.
Geoff Elliot says, “We’re certainly living in challenging, unprecedented times. It seems like many people are trying to figure out what the path forward looks like. Performing Henry V and A Raisin in the Sun gives us the fascinating opportunity to watch two thirty-something heroes come to their full manhood – albeit in the most different of circumstances, by the most different of playwrights.”
“For the audience to be able to experience, in close proximity, both Prince Hal’s and Walter Lee Younger’s stories, is the asking of tough, if fascinating, questions about the nature of courage. For both, there are no easy answers. Spending time with these indelible characters allows us to reflect and be inspired by them.”
Single ticket prices for Henry V start at $25.00. Contact the A Noise Within box office in person, via phone at (626) 356-3100, or online at www.ANoiseWithin.org for updated pricing and seat availability. A Noise Within will offer student rush tickets, and Sunday Rush (for Sunday, March 18 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, April 1 at 7:00 pm) for this production. A Pay What You Can performance takes place on Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 pm.
A Noise Within is located on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue at 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena.
About A Noise Within
A Noise Within, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary last season, was called “an oasis for those who love classic stories” by Los Angeles Times, and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena. ANW’s award-winning resident company practices a rotating repertory model at their state-of-the-art, 283-seat performing space. This venue, established in 2011, has allowed ANW to expand its audience, surpassing its previous box office, subscription, and attendance records each year.
In addition to producing world-class performances of classical theatre, the organization runs robust education programs committed to inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within truly delivers Classic Theatre, Modern Magic. http://www.anoisewithin.org