November 1, 2007

Henry V

I'm in Henry V which opens this weekend at COD. There's a preview show tonight at 8pm, and shows Friday, Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Next is the same, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. (with exciting discussions at tonight, pre-show at 6:45 and next Friday post-show). So it is Shakespeare... and a bit hard to follow if you aren't used to it, so here's a quick summary of each scene (WARNING: Spoilers Below!):

a tiny bit of backstory- Henry is a young king, but his subjects love him because he treats them well. Respects them. In his younger days he was a bit of a party animal/rabble-rouser, so some hold that against him, including the Dauphin (read: dough-faw), the prince of France. Our story takes place near the end of the Hundred Years War. England thinks they own France... the French disagree.

Act I, Prologue: Welcome to our story. This is a lot of stuff to cram onto this little stage. So please use your imaginations, cuz seriously, this is an itty bitty representation of the real deal.
Act I, Scene i-ii: Canturbury informs Ely of his research for King Henry. Henry wants to know if he has right to claim France as his own. Canturbury, very long-windedly, tells him he does have that right, since the French break the same reasoning they give for him not owning France.

French messenger comes with a "tonne of treasure" (a treasure chest) that contains tennis balls, as payment from the French to have the English leave France alone... obviously a bit insulting. Henry gets a bit mad, and sends a dark message back to the French through their herald (Montjoy [read: mah-joy]).

Act II, Prologue: The English are ready to go kick some French butts. But they've discovered 3 traitors in their midst: Scroop of Masham, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, and Sir Thomas Grey of Northumberland. They are going to sell Henry out for the "gilt" (money) of France "oh guilt indeed." ...but that's a scene later than this next one.

II, i: At a pub Nym sits and polishes his sword in waiting to kill Pistol. They were friends but Pistol married Lady Quickly, who Nym was involved with. Bardolph (who's rather ugly due to some sort of burns/accident) tries to get them to stop and just get along. "Boy" comes running in saying that Falstaff (and old knight they're all friends with, and who Henry was good friends with in his wilder, drunker days) is about to die, they exit to check on him.

II, ii: Henry's 3 right hand men discuss the three traitors. Henry comes in and says he wishes to pardon a man who, he's decided was just drunk and not at fault. The three traitors say he'd be better off punishing this man and making an example out of him. Henry's all "really? you guys sure? I mean what about more serious stuff... what should I do with that?" and they're all "psht. string him up. go for it." and he's like, "well... I'm gonna let him go, cuz I'm the king, so I'll do what I want." He then goes on to give them their "assignments" for the invasion of France... but when they open them, they see their own letters to the French that would have sold out Henry. They beg for mercy and Henry doesn't bend, since they were so set on stringing up the aforementioned drunk. Excetor (Henry's uncle, and go-to guy) busts a cap in their collective ass, sending them all to the gallows for high treason.

II, iii: Back to the motley crew at the pub... They grieve over the death of Sir John Falstaff, discussing his final moments as happy but delirious. They're all sad, but must "shog off" (leave) to go to war.

II, iv: In France, the court discusses the English dilemma. The Dauphin thinks Henry is still the foolish boy he once was and is eager to go fight him, but the others disagree and have heard from their ambassadors of Henry's might. Excetor comes in telling the French that Henry has already landed in France and this is their last chance to surrender the crown to him. Egos get in the way and war is more or less decided at that moment.

Act III, Prologue: King Henry's crew is awesome and intimidating. Seriously. They come in and kick some ass at Harfleur. The king of France offers his Daughter, Katherine, and some crappy little dukedoms in exchange for letting him keep his crown. Henry's not having it.

III, i-iii: Henry rallys the troops, compares them to tigers (okay... its one of the more recognizable Henry monologues in the play. its very stirring to the troops. they're ready to kick some French ass). They charge on Harfleur. Nym, Bardolph, and the boys try to sneak away from the fight, only to be pushed ahead by Fluellen. Fluellen is Welsh, and therefore hard to understand most of the time. He's studied all the books on war. He's pretty much a badass. Gower comes in telling Fluellen that he's wanted in "the mines" (tunnels to get under the city walls). Fluellen thinks they're digging the tunnels wrong and its a death trap, so he's not about to go down there. A siren is heard, signaling a parlay, a desire for a negotiation by the city under siege. Henry is pissed that they'd wait so long for this and basically calls them out, ready to kill all of them: be they man, woman or child. The governor comes out saying they can't possibly defend themselves, and an army cannot be put together quick enough to come save them, so the English can take over the city.

III, iv: This scene is to lighten the mood of all this seriousness of war and death... It's the giggly French girls (princess Katherine and her maid Alice) speaking in French. Alice is teaching Katherine some English (rather poorly, as you will see). Oh, and apparently foot sounds like fuck to them. and a "dress" used to be called a "count."

III, v: The French are pissed off that the English somehow became so courageous. Worst of all, they're wives and mistresses are mocking them for being defeated by Henry and his English forces. The French king tells the nobles to go raise up an army, and he is sure they can defeat the English and bring back Henry as a captive.

III, vi: Back to the English at Harfleur. Ancient (or Aunchaunt, as Fluellen says it with his accent) Pistol (ancient is some form of rank in the army) comes and asks Fluellen to get their friend Bardolph pardoned for stealing from a French church. Henry knew Bardolph in his younger days, and is pained to do it, but must not make exception and sends Bardolph to the gallows. Henry tells his men that they must treat the French with utmost respect. No stealing, raping pillaging, etc. Enter Montjoy, the French herald, tellling Henry that the French think he should arrange his ransom (reparations for the damages incurred to the French after they defeat the English). Henry sends back an even-tempered message stating that his men are tired and sick, but they march on because he believes he is right.

III, vii: The French discuss the next morning's awaiting battle. Dauphin has never battled before, but is anxious to do so. Meanwhile, the other nobles mock him.


Act IV, Prologue: This night, the two armies are practically on top of each other. one can almost hear the other. The French outnumber the English 5-1 and are already planning how to divide the loot. Henry goes from camp to camp meeting with his men.

Act IV, i: Henry wears one of his men's cloaks and anonymously meets with whomever he passes by. His men do not recognize him as king but still tell of their loyalty to the king, each in his own particular way. Gower comes in and greets Fluellen loudly, Fluellen smacks some sense into him. Henry meets some other men, and discovers they doubt the king's motives and courage. Henry defends the king, and the other man does not back down, so they establish a quarrel that they will finish if they both survive the battle. Henry is then left alone, and he laments over all the hardships that come with being king. He prays to God to strengthen his men and not hold him accountable to his father's wrong-doings.

IV, iii: Henry gives a big speech to rally the troops. again.

IV, ---we added this from somewhere else... not exactly sure where it was supposed to be in the play originally, but basically the chorus tells you that we're going to the battlefield. welcome.


IV, v-vii: King's friend York is killed, among others. The boys are killed and the king is pissed. really pissed. Herald enters, informs Henry that his men have won. They get a count of the French dead: 10,000. and then a count of the English dead: 29... (Shakespeare used a bit of artistic license here... they English were outnumbered, and did win... probably not quite this well though). Henry goes on to tell his men that they won because God wanted them to, it was not their own doing. He instructs them not to brag to anyone of this, but they can tell others of all that died, and that it is a tragedy that so many perished.

V, prologue: Use your imagination to take us back to France, about 6 months after the battle, for a Peace Agreement.

V, ii: Kings welcome each other. Henry lauds the Duke of Burgundy (ME!) for putting together this meeting. Burgundy gives Henry a tongue lashing for keeping peace out of France for so long and wants it back. Henry says that Charles (King of France) has to buy it back with the terms. Charles needs to re-examine the terms. They all leave, Henry, Katherine and Alice remain. Henry wins Katherine's heart. Court returns, Charles gives Katherine to Henry. Kiss.

Epilogue: Tells of Henry and Katherine's son, Henry VI who goes and screws stuff up way down the line, bringing France and England to war again. But thanks for watching our play.

Fade to Black.

If you're still reading, thanks. and come see our show.

Posted by hollimer at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)