Henry IV, Part 1
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Alain Aguilar
"Away you starveling! You dried neat's tongue! Bull's pizzle! You stock fish! O for breath to utter what is like to thee!
June 16-28, 2003
For the second offering in the summer season, HSC returned to the Shakespeare's history plays for the first time since Richard III and produced the second play in what is known as Shakespeare's Major History Cycle - Henry IV Part One. The hilarious comedy disguised as a stuff history play, tells the story of the troubled reign of Henry IV (Charles J. Roby) following his revolt against the last king deposition of Richard II. The historical action revolves around the attempt by Henry Percy (Stewart Luth), known as Hotspur, to overthrow the king. However, the remainder of the play deals with the transformation of Henry's rowdy son, Prince Hal (Michael McGuire), from tavern joker to British national hero under the tutelage of his partner in crime and surrogate father Sir John Falstaff (Jon Ciccarelli), king of his own dominions--the taverns and brothels of London's Eastcheap district. To see an accompanying news story clipping, click here.
The story begins with the king defeating the latest uprising against his rule lead by a rebel Welshman Owen Glendower (Ken Rothstein). As the king surveys his conquests, he muses that Hotspur has been most valiant in battle and wishes that he could be his son as opposed to Prince Hal, whom he considers a drunk and a shame to his family. The king is informed that the Earl of Worchester (Roy Aaron) along with Hotspur want to petition him for the return of Lord Mortimer (Ben Turner). Mortimer, though captured by the enemy, has married the daughter of Glendower. The king refuses their request seeing Mortimer as an enemy. The king further threatens that any further talk on the matter will result in dire consequences. Having helped Henry to his throne when overthrew the last king, the nobles now feel betrayed and seek their only way is to depose Henry before they are killed. The group retreats to Glendower's castle to plot a a rebellion.
Above, the opening court scene with Lord Westmoreland (Ben Turner), King Henry (Charles J. Roby), Lord Lancaster (Devine Moriarity), performance at Sinatra Park, Hoboken.
Above,, Lord Worchester (Roy Aaron) tries to persuade the king, picture taken at Shipyard Park, Hoboken.
Hotspur (Stewart Luth) argues his case for Lord Mortimer, picture taken at Van Vorst Park, Jersey City, NJ. Below left, the rebels gather at Lord Glendower's (Ken Rothstein) house, picture taken Stratford, CT.
The same rebel scene, picture taken at Shipyard Park, Hoboken
Meanwhile, the story shifts to Prince Hal (Michael McGuire) and Falstaff after their latest all-nighter of drinking. Drunkenly, Falstaff muses on his side profession of robbery and with the help of their compatriot Poins (John Trigonis) plot to rob several rich pilgrims the next night. Though the prince agrees to go along, he reveals to the audience that his is not that he appears. He is estranged from his father and takes comfort with the common people, but is not the criminal he has been made out to be. With Poins' help, they rob Falstaff and his cohorts of their sack of money after they have robbed the Pilgrims. Hal and Poins gather at their favorite watering hole, The Boar's Head Tavern to gloat over their joke on Falstaff. Falstaff arrives and denounces the two as cowards and begins his latest tall tale of fending off men who robbed him, increasing in number every time he begins the story. When finally revealed that it was the Prince an Poins, who robbed them, Falstaff reconciles with them, grudgingly. News arrives that a new rebellion is afoot and Hal is called to his father's court. Falstaff, knowing the tongue lashing that Hal will receive, pleads Hal to play out what he will say to his father. Hal one ups the fat knight again by having him play his father. The two dig into each other in the course of this mock meeting. At the end of the play, the Sheriff arrives inquiring about Falstaff and Hal hides him. Falstaff falls asleep during their exchange and Hal later decides to pick his pocket for his latest joke on Falstaff.
The next day Hal attends to his father, who does indeed denounce his lifestyle. Hal instead of downplaying uses it to his advantage and says that while he has been estranged, he will now rally to his father's aide. The king is plead and they prepare to meet the enemy. Falstaff returns to the tavern to inquire to the Hostess (Jean Arlea) who picked his pocket and in a hilarious exchange of one ups manship accuses his sometime mistress of stealing. Hal arrives with orders for the men and indicates it was he who picked Falstaff's pocket. The rest march on to the wars. At the rebel camp, Hotspur is stressed that his forces are not all complete and ready but decides to fight on anyway. Negotiations go awry and the two armies clash. Hal and Hotspur meet for their decisive battle, while Falstaff fakes death to escape the real thing. Hotspur is killed by Hal, but Falstaff takes the credit and revels in his survival tactics and denounces the honor of battle as being nothing but lip service. King Henry emerges victorious and the kingdom is safe until the next rebellion, later continued in Henry IV, Part 2.
Above left, Falstaff (left, Jon Ciccarelli) and Hal (Michael McGuire) muse on the benefits of nighttime robbery. Above right, the gang gathers at the Boar's Head Tavern after the robbery with their supposed injuries. Pictures taken at Sinatra Park, Hoboken.
Above left, at the Tavern, Falstaff and the Hostess (Jean Arlea) try to one up each other in front of the prince (Michael McGuire). Above right, Falstaff and the Hostess in the earlier Tavern scene.
Lady Percy (Devin Moriarity) tries to speak with distant husband.
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