Wednesday, August 10, 2016

“HENRY IV” & HIS COURT TOUR NJ @ VARIOUS VENUES

Edited pr 1

A TALE OF TWO DADS

The Hudson Shakespeare Company returns for its third and final installment of its 25th anniversary Shakespeare in the Parks tour presenting both parts of the Henry IV story, running at:

WHEN: Thursday, August 11th @ 7pm
WHERE: Westfield Memorial Library, 550 E. Broad Street, Westfield, NJ

WHEN: Saturday, August 13th @ 5pm
WHERE: 1334 Greenwood Lake Turnpike, Hewitt, NJ

WHEN: Monday, August 15th @ 7pm
WHERE: Kenilworth Public Library, 546 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ

WHEN: Tuesday, August 16th @ 7:30pm
WHERE: Monument Park, 1588 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee, NJ

WHEN: Wednesday, August 17th @ 7:30pm
WHERE:
Atlantic Street Park, 102 State Street, Hackensack, NJ

WHEN: Thursday, August 18th @ 7pm
WHERE:
Hamilton Park, 9th Street and Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, NJ

WHEN: Monday, August 22nd @7pm
WHERE:
Bogota Public Library, 375 Larch Ave, Bogota, NJ

WHEN: Tuesday, August 23rd @ 7:30pm
WHERE
: Monument Park, 1588 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee, NJ

WHEN: Wednesday, August 24th @ 7:30pm
WHERE:
Atlantic Street Park, 102 State Street, Hackensack, NJ

WHEN: Thursday, August 25th @ 7pm
WHERE:
Roselle Park Library, Roselle Park, NJ

WHEN: Saturday, August 27th @ 2pm
WHERE:
Stratford Public Library, 2203 Main Street, Stratford, CT

The Hudson Shakespeare Company has taken the highlights of both plays and streamlined them into a tightly paced production. All shows are free. For outdoor showings patrons are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and seating will be provided for the indoor library showings. Call 973-449-7443 or visit www.hudsonshakespeare.com for more information.

This production completes the company’s first history cycle which began in June recounting the story of “Richard II” and how Henry IV took the crown from him in a civil war. “Richard II” was followed up in July with a flashback story in “Edward III” telling the backstory of Richard and Henry’s grandfather, the man who started their dynasty. Now Henry (Tom Cox) is dealing with his own unending civil war and his son Hal who wants nothing to do with him or the crown. (Image: From left to right Charlie Leeder as Falstaff, Elizabeth Berkman as Prince Hal and Tom Cox as King Henry IV.)

Prince Hal (Elizabeth Berkman) is a typical teenager, outgoing and trying to find himself with a bit of rebellious streak the only difference is that he’s heir to the throne of a troubled country. However, instead of assisting his father and brothers in defending the crown Hal is having a great time hanging out at the Boar’s Head Tavern with his best bud Poins (Sarah Dahl Hasselgren) and his adopted father, the mountain of mirth Sir John “Jack” Falstaff (Charlie Leeder). The trio drink like fish, play pranks on each other and occasionally engage in some petty larceny. While Hal knows that Falstaff has shady dealings ranging from gambling to prostitution he’d rather be here than dealing with strict and humorless father.

After having successfully won the country from his cousin Richard, Henry IV has not had a quiet moment ever since. Now the nobles, such as the fiery and impetuous Henry “Hotspur” Percy (Bess Miller), that assisted Henry to the crown want their say and take in governing the country. A recent battle results in riches and Henry takes all the spoils for himself leaving Hotspur with nothing. This is the final straw for Hotspur to ally with his equally disgruntled father, uncle and a crazy magician who fancies himself a general. While Hotspur has a rag tag and eclectic group he poses a serious threat to Henry’s rule and life and forces Hal to return home to help out. Hal must now straddle new found military responsibilities from a father who doesn’t trust him and another father in Falstaff who wants Hal to give him money and a cushy position when he becomes king.

Normally divided into two plays (Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2), the story of Prince Hal’s road from rebellious teenager to the national superhero, Henry V, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular stories. From Orson Wells “Chimes at Midnight” to Kenneth Branagh’s “Henry V’ to the recent “Hollow Crown” series starring Tom Hiddleston, the story of fathers and sons goes beyond the historical and political backdrop and becomes a more personal journey where a young man has to choose which life is really for him and who has his best interest at heart. One life full of drink, fun and color represented in the overly fat and incredibly funny Falstaff and the other life of dour responsibility represented in Henry IV.

More hysterical comedy than dry history story, the journey of Hal is peppered with many over the top characters such as the quack magician Glendower, the dramatic Mistress Quickly, the prissy Earl of Worcester, Hotspur the knight with ADD, the ballsy call girl Doll, the lewd and quick Pistol and a score of other buffoons and knights in a mix of sword play, family, and of course lots of beer.

“When people think of Shakespeare’s history plays they usually think of dry talking heads speaking of events from a long time ago that they have no connection to, however in the “Henry IV” plays you get a very recognizable kid in Prince Hal who knows that he’s fallen into the wrong crowd and tries to mitigate their less desirable activities but is having such a good time that he finds it very hard to go back to his real dad. His real father doesn’t make it very appealing as he’s a hard guy to get along with, however, Hal learns who really has his back and that’s what the journey is all about. Are you going to choose those fair weather friends or those who truly love you,?” said Jon Ciccarelli, the show’s director.

“Of course with Shakespeare, nothing is ever so cut and dry and there a lot of subtle gray areas mixed in with some crazy comedy”, he adds.