Director: Alec Harrington
set: Tom Sturge
costume: Michael Oberle
original music: Andre' du Broc
fight direction: J. David Brimmer
May 17, 2001
- Sunday 8:00pm
Sunday Matinee 2:30pm
First Floor Theatre
Long before the invention
of television, Shakespeare created the Historical Miniseries. Spanning twelve
years, encompassing royalty and the underworld, tragedy and comedy, Shakespeare's
Henry IV plays tell the story of the turbulent reign of King Henry and of the
coming of age of his son Prince Hal the future Henry V. Director Alexander Harrington
thinks audiences should have the chance to savor the two plays together, and
so will stage them in rotating repertory with his Eleventh Hour Theatre Company
from May 17 to June 3 in La MaMa's First Floor Theater. Over the course of the
two parts, the audience will get to know the characters with an intimacy that
is unknown in traditional two-hour plays.
Part One treats English history from deposition of Richard II to the defeat
and death of Henry Percy (Hotspur) at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403). Part
Two continues the history from the Battle of Shrewsbury to the death of the
King. The two plays date from about 1598. Much of their interest depends on
the famous comic character, Sir John Falstaff, whose scenes are a foil to the
serious action and at the same time, used to reveal the humanity of Prince Hal.
Discounted tickets are being offered for the two-play package and neighboring
restaurants are offering discounted meals for theatergoers attending. Theatergoers
can see a matinee of Part I and evening performance of Part II on Sunday, May
27 or Sunday, June 3 and receive a discounted meal at participating neighborhood
restaurants by presenting their playbill.
Eleventh Hour Theatre Company is becoming known for its distinctive style of
bare-boned Shakespeare with gorgeous acting and vocal work. The company debuted
at La MaMa in 1999 with "Henry V" and subsequently presented its own
"Richard II" at HERE, both times to vigorous acclaim by critics including
the New York Post's Donald Lyons, who applauded the productions' superb performances
and clarity of vision.
Alexander Harrington made his La MaMa debut in April, 1997 with a mostly-musical
staging of Aeschylus' "Agamemnon" in the Annex Theater. That production
took the unusual step of making the chorus the star, emphasizing the play's
elaborate choral poems and choral dialogues and employing a sound-score by composer
John Allman. The Eleventh Hour Theatre Company was formed right after "Agamemnon"
and performed its first Shakespeare play, "Henry V," at La MaMa in
1999. The company is committed to classical plays which tell stories, present
human beings and ideas in all their complexity without passing judgment, and
strives to offer the audience a transcendent experience.
Harrington is son of author and socialist activist Michael Harrington ("The
Other America"). He started out as an actor, performing as a child with
Soho Rep and the Veterans Ensemble. Harrington was anti-war coordinator for
the Democratic Socialists of America during the Persian Gulf War and was a youth
delegate to the Socialist International in 1991. He directed his own adaptations
of Chekhov's "The Kiss," Sherwood Anderson's "The Philosopher"
and Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" for Lincoln Center Theater
Directors Lab festivals at The Salon. Other productions include "Billy
Budd" (Westbeth, Circle in the Square Downtown) and "The Family Hour
(The Actors Studio). He is an original member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors
Lab and a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit.
Harrington writes, "Works of this size and scope are rarely seen in the
theatre, they have been relegated to the world of the television miniseries.
Why must we enjoy epic performances only in our living rooms? Why can't we
experience them with live actors, surrounded by the energy of a larger audience?"
Drew Cortese plays Prince Hal and John Ahlin plays Falstaff. Wilbur Edwin Henry
plays Henry IV; Francis Henry plays Hotspur. The ensemble also includes Gary
Andrews, Christopher Baker, Joel Carino, Gary Cowling, Andre' Du Broc, Andrew
English, David Fraioli, Charles Goad, Thomas McCann, Lynne McCollough, Tiffany
R. Nave, Jan Neuberger, Jason Manuel Olazabal, John Payne, Carolyn Roberts,
Daniel J. Sherman, Jonathan Smit and Robin Taylor.