The Hudson Shakespeare Company returns for its second installment of its 22nd annual Summer Shakespeare in the Parks series with
Written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher
Directed by Jon Ciccarelli
The larger-than-life king famous for many wives, many appetites, and breaking with the Catholic church is given a Shakespearean treatment and makes the rounds through Jersey City and Hoboken.
WHEN: Thursday, July 11th @7 PM
WHERE: Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ (Rain location under the park's gazebo)
WHEN: Friday, July 12th @ 7 PM
WHERE: Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ (Rain location under the park's gazebo)
WHEN: Saturday, July 13th @5 PM
WHERE: Historic Jersey City and Harismus Cemetery, Jersey City, NJ (Rain location - Tent on site)
WHEN: Monday, July 15th @ 7 PM
WHERE: Frank Sinatra Park , 410 Frank Sinatra Drive in Hoboken, NJ (No rain location)
WHEN: Tuesday, July 16th @ 7:30 PM
WHERE: Monument Park, 1588 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee, NJ (No rain location)
WHEN: Wednesday, July 17th @ 7:30 PM
WHERE: Staib Park, 174 Davis Avenue, Hackensack, NJ (Rain location Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, 39 Broadway, Hackensack, NJ)
WHEN: Thursday, July 18th @ 7:30 PM
WHERE: David Brearly High School Football Field, 425 Monroe Avenue, Kenilworth, NJ (Rain located Kenilworth Public Library, 548 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ)
WHEN: Monday, July 22nd @ 7 PM
WHERE: Frank Sinatra Park, 410 Frank Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ
WHEN: Tuesday, July 23rd @ 7:30 PM
WHERE: Monument Park, 1588 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee, NJ
WHEN: Wednesday, July 24th @ 7:30 PM
WHERE: Staib Park, 174 Davis Avenue, Hackensack, NJ (Rain location Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, 39 Broadway)
Set in the middle years on Henry VIII's reign, the play marks the shift between Henry's (Bradley Sumner) first wife, the very Catholic and dutiful, Katherine of Aragon (Noelle Fair) and the youthful and opportunistic second wife Anne Boelyn (Emily Ludolph) and the juicy divorce and its aftermath on the English world orchestrated by Cardinal Wolsey (David C. Neal).
Henry VIII marks an interesting turn in Shakespeare's career as he had partially retired to Stratford-upon-Avon after writing The Tempest but instead then returned to the theatre to collaborate with one his protoge's, John Fletcher. This turns out to be the first in three collaborations with Fletcher as they then co-wrote Cardenio and The Two Noble Kinsmen.
Initially written in 1612-1613 for double wedding festivities of two of the children of James I of England, Henry VIII, was then retooled when the King's eldest son Henry died unexpectedly and was adapted for a rescheduled wedding and later general public performances. One performance of Henry VIII actually caused the original Globe Theatre to burn down in 1613. Early in the play, a party scene has a canon go off announcing the King's arrival and sparks from the canon landed in the thatch roof and the entire structure burned down in only two hours. This June marked the 400th anniversary of that event.
Jon Ciccarelli, the play's director, promises there won't be those kind of fireworks for this new production, but there is plenty of explosive court intrigue and personal drama.
"The play takes very larger than life scenes and shows the very human side of those events through the perspective of several characters." he said. "An alternative title of the play is "All is True," which means that everyone's point of view is equally valid. Ultimately the play is told from the perspectives of the two women in Henry's life. Katherine, the solid wife on her way out and Anne, ascending but getting more than what she wished for," he said.
Each season the company seeks to produce some lesser done titles of the Shakespeare canon and Henry VII is this year's entry, showcasing hidden gems along with more familiar fare. The company will return with Macbeth in August.
The Hudson Shakespeare Company, now in its 22nd season of touring Shakespeare and classical works in Hudson County and around New Jersey. Patrons are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and all performances are free. If called on account of rain, the performance will be shifted to the park's gazebo for Van Vorst and Hamilton Parks, moved under the tent at Harsimus Cemetery and canceled if at Sinatra Park. For more information, please call 973.449.7443 or visit www.hudsonshakespeare.homestead.com
(Top: A dysfunctional family portrait of Henry VIII [Bradley Sumner], his firs wife, dutiful Katherine [Noelle Fair, right], his second wife, opportunistic Anne Boelyn [Emily Ludolph, left] and Henry's surrogate father figure, scheming Cardinal Wolsey [David C. Neal] in Hudson Shakespeare Company's production of Henry VIII.)