Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Henry V Begins....

No, it's not the latest summer blockbuster attempt to reboot a sagging franchise. But rather it's my current theatrical project. In downtown Philly, I just started rehearsing a production of Shakespeare's Henry V in which I play the Chorus. Generally, Shakespeare uses the character of the chorus to communicate a lot of history and backstory. But the Chorus also interacts directly with the audience, asking them to use their imagination to help tell the story that the "flat unraised spirits" of the actors will perform on-stage. It's Shakespeare way of literally telling the audience to imagine the horses, the armies, the tents, the battles, because the stage will not do justice to the real-life history of King Henry V.

As of right now, we are a week into the process, and we've blocked out most of the show. There are sections that we know better than others, and some of our scene transitions are so rocky that they are comical, but the director Aaron has assured us that there is a lot to like in the show, and now we just need to go about finding a way to bring it all out. But we have a few weeks left before our preview performance, and so the journey is now about trimming, tucking, and expanding.

Aaron presented us all with a clever and compelling setting/conception for the show, and now we're all taking turns to throw our ideas into the pot to see how it can all come together. I won't spoil the idea so far before the opening night, but it's a neat concept that lets the show work on several levels. We had a discussion the other day about finding ways to make the concept service the themes of the play, and not just have our concept be a little trick we just play on the audience. We want our theme/modern interpretation to be clear.

And although I don't use this blog to pimp out my own projects anymore, this one I'll pimp a little bit by saying that it is FREE. You have to reserve your tickets in person the day of the show (the theatre wants to think it's NYC Shakespeare in the Park), but it's possible to pick those tickets up and see this show for literally nothing. Air-conditioned theatre, Shakespeare, drinks afterwards.... why say no?

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