HENRY V by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE opened at the Mazer Theatre in New York City October 25, 1999 and ran through December 4th under the direction of LAURIE WESSELY with the following cast and crew:
Chorus PHILIPPE BRENNINKMEYER Henry BRAD RAIDER Canterbury / Fluellen MICHAEL HOGAN Ely / Gower DAVID ANDREW SALPER Exeter GABRIEL SILVA Gloucester ERIC FELDMAN Westmoreland DAVID C. ROBINSON York / Jamy / Court MICHAEL STOCK Salisbury / MacMorris / Bates CHRISTIAN CONN Cambridge / Governor SID HAMMOND Scroop / Orleans DAVID LOOK Grey / Rambures JARED DAWBER Montjoy / French Soldier BOLTON MARSH Nym / Williams RAY RODRIGUEZ Bardolph / Erpingham HUGH SCULLY Hostess Quickly / Queen of France MELANIE S. MURRAY Pistol JEFFREY SUTTON Boy JOHN ANDREW BURNETT King of France / Le Fer DAVID McCAMISH Dauphin MICHAEL RUBENSTONE Constable NICHOLAS ROCHETTE Katherine NIAMH McCORMALLY Alice DEB HIETT BORGIA Burgandy / French Soldier PETER TEDESCHI
Producers JAMES RODAY, SAMUEL PORAT Associate Producer MELISSA BRYANT Fight Director J. DAVID BRIMMER Stage Manager ELIZABETH GREENMAN Production Stage Manager SKEETER Set Design JEFF NEWBURGER Lighting Design JONAH MEACHAM Costume Design SARAH J. TOSETTI Sound Design JARED COSEGLIA Press OPR / DAVID LOTZ Marketing BRUCE ROBERTS Assistant Director MELANIE S. ARMER
LAURIE WESSELEY'S Director's Note:
What is it about King Henry V? 400 years after Shakespeare wrote this play The Life of King Henry the Fifth, and nearly 200 years following Henry's coronation, the world is still fascinated by this man. He was a youthful ruler, not confined in many ways by his time, neither military rules nor social custom. Henry was faced with extraordinary odds at Agincourt (the play cites 60,000 Frenchman opposing 12,000 English, and although that may be an exaggeration, as certainly the death toll in the text of 10,000 French and 29 English must be, the odds were by all counts at least fearful.) But instead of playing by the customary rules of warfare at the time, Henry fought the battle from behind a line of yeoman archers who cut down the French nobles and their horses, hopelessly stranded in the muddy fields. He fought side by side with members of all classes, as well as Scots, Irish, and Welsh fighters, creating a united front unprecedented in English history. Although Henry is not really a tragic figure, at least not in the course of this play, he is a man of great complexity, charisma, of thought, of emotion, and above all, a man of action. All these admirable traits Shakespeare presents to us, along with some of the most extraordinary poetry of the canon.
Although the history of this king is fascinating, I find myself drawn to his extraordinary spirit. He chooses, the night before a battle in which his troops are doomed to overwhelming defeat, to wander among his men, to give comfort, to understand their feelings, to pray for their cause, to engage them in theological debate. He does not do what other kings of his time would certainly have done and ransom himself to the French. He follows his cause into battle, and although he does not always choose the most humane path by modern standards, he certainly ruled his kingdom and his troops with great conviction and care. He is careful to treat the French with dignity and respect outside the battlefield, and his own troops with honest leadership and a bond of brotherhood. This production was particularly inspired by the thought that, were Henry a modern figure, circumstances might have allowed him to be a man of peace, of diplomacy, of spirituality. In his time, his leadership was expressed through the necessary brutality of military expression, and this production certainly does not shrink from that; but today Henry might have the opportunity to fight his cause on a different kind of battlefield, as other great leaders of our century.
"Our enemy is our best guru. From him we learn our most valuable lessons: compassion, understanding..." - The Dalai Lama