“Henry V” Presented in an Extraordinary Space

By Ernest Kearney  —  Henry V has long been considered one of Shakespeare’s problem plays; called a “stirring piece of drum-beating and flag-waving” by one critic.  But Henry V offers more buried ore to be mined than nearly any other work of the Bard.

Fabiana Formica – the Dauphin

I wouldn’t say that the Pretend Theatre has successfully quarried that ore, but what they have done, has been to stage a very strong, and craftsman-like, production of Shakespeare’s 1599 play — recounting Henry V’s contribution to the Hundred Year War (1337-1453). This has been accomplished with a cast of eleven at the Thymele Arts: Common Room; a well-suited space for the company’s quasi-immersive approach to the piece.

Carrie Adams is Princess Katherine

There are problems with the piece.  Why were the Dauphin of France (Fabiana Formica), Princess Katherine (Carrie Adams) and her maid servant Alice (Jerilyn Gashi) the only French characters with accents?

And what happened to the Chorus’ final speech in which the audience is informed that in spite of the happy ending that ends the play Henry is dead in six months and France and England have another 31 years of bloodletting to look forward to?

Jerilyn Gash is Alice

There are some solid performances here, but what is lacking is a forceful intrusion of imagination into the playing.

The venue is cavernous, and any ambient sound would have had a powerful resonance.  If recordings were shunned for reasons of maintaining Elizabethan purity then cast-generated sonance would have filled the void; the winds of the night, the sounds of an encampment, foot stomping for marching troops, hammers on garbage lids for sword against steel.

John Eddings is Westmoreland

Also, the marvelous venue was under used; tables being tipped over for the trenches of soldiers, chairs placed across the playing area to serve as the walls of Harfleur.

The Chorus implores the audience to allay the play’s inadequacies and “Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.” Well, that pronouncement extends to the players as well.

That said, this is still a solid staging with some wonderful talent involved.

Adams and Gashi, while less effective in the first of their double casting duties, rise to the demands of the roles of Katherine and Alice.  Formica is excellent as the prissy Dauphin, and John Eddings is superb as the gruff Westmoreland.

Chris Chapman is Henry

As a remnant from Henry IV parts I & II Brian Caelleigh is topnotch as Pistol, and Mike Claman is impressive as the book-schooled Welsh warrior Fluellen.

But it is Chris Chapman’s intelligent and sure-handed performance as Henry that renders null and void all other flaws of this mounting and brings the Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionproduction a GOLD MEDAL.


♦     ♦     ♦


Henry V

is playing during

The Hollywood Fringe 2018


Thymele Arts: Common Room

5481 Santa Monica Blvd.


(For Show Information and Tickets Go Tohttp://hff18.org/5061 )

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter @theTVolution

Please Subscribe to our Newsletter

(Box on the Left Rail)

We Thank You for Supporting the Voices of TheTVolution

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

No comments


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.