Such Stuff Players – Henry V – April, 2013

May 4, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Henry PosterHenry V
by William Shakespeare

Directed by Marilyn Firth and Karen Ridd
Staring the Such Stuff Players

April 23-25, 2013

Summary

Henry V’s father Bolingbroke (Henry IV) was never able to rule comfortably because he had usurped Richard II. On his succession King Henry V is determined to prove his right to rule, including over France. An ambassador arrives from the French Dauphin with a provocative gift. Henry responds by preparing to invade France. Three of the king’s friends are discovered to be plotting against him and he condemns them to death. Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph, the companions of Henry’s wild days in London, join the king’s forces and set off for the wars.

The English take the town of Harfleur and the king moves on towards Calais. The two armies prepare for battle near Agincourt. The night before the battle the king visits his troops in disguise. The French numbers are superior but Henry inspires his troops with a powerful patriotic speech. The battle begins and the French are defeated, with heavy losses, whereas the English losses are light. Henry returns to London in triumph before making peace with the French king. Henry woos the French Princess Katherine and their marriage links England and France.

Show Times

April 23, 2013 – 7 pm
April 24, 2013 – 1 pm and 7 pm
April 25, 2013 – 1 pm

Gas Station Arts Centre
445 River Avenue
WInnipeg, MB

Approximate Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Tickets

Tickets for Henry V are now available for purchase from a cast member or through paypal.

Tickets are are $5 per person or $20 for a family pass.

Will Pistol Find his Courage?

April 17, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Pistol behind Plant

Henry V opens next week.

A Play by Play of our Play

April 17, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Here’s a scene by scene breakdown of the abridged version of Henry V that we are presenting next week.

Prologue

– Throughout the play the Chorus acts as a narrator, and fills in details that the play skips over. In this opening, the Chorus apologizes for the limitations of theatre, and introduces the French and English courts.

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Act I

I, Scene i – Archbishop Canterbury and Bishop Ely are concerned that the King of England may take away land from the church. They hatch a scheme to convince the King to invade France instead.

I, Scene ii – Canterbury and Ely set their plan in motion, aided by an insulting gift to Henry from the Dauphin (the French Prince). Henry (also called Harry) decided to go to war on France.

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Act II

The Chorus describes the preparations that the English make as they go off to war.

II, Scene i – Before Henry become King he was a wild young man, who hung out with a group of ruffians. In this scene we are introduced to those scoundrels: Nym, Bardolph and Pistol (who are preparing to go with the English army to fight in France) and Pistol’s new wife Mistress Nell Quickly. The leader of that gang had been Sir John Falstaff. Falstaff was a favourite character in Shakespeare’s earlier plays, but in this play we never see him. We only hear, from his Boy, that he’s dying, and his old cronies leave the scene to go to his deathbed.

II, Scene ii – King Henry uncovers a plot by some of his nobles to kill him and deals with the traitors.
Scene iii – The gang of ruffians bid farewell to Quickly and go off to war (hoping to loot!)

II, Scene iv – The play shifts to France where we see tension in the French court. The French Prince Dauphin scoffs at the English, but the French King is more cautiously preparing to defend the country.

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Act III

The Chorus describes the English army’s sea journey to France

III, Scene i – The English, now in France, are storming the walled city of Harfleur. Henry’s stirring speech inspires his men.

III, Scene ii – Henry’s been so inspiring that even the cowardly Nym, Pistol and Bardolph are almost motivated to go into battle. They think better of it, then are driven into the fray by the Welsh Captain Fluellen (listen for his Welsh accent!)

III, Scene iii – The Governor of Harfleur had hoped for aid from the Dauphin. When that does not materialize, Harfleur has to surrender to the English.

III, Scene iv – Meanwhile, back in the French palace, the French princess Katherine has heard rumours that she may be given in marriage to Henry, so she (and her ladies-in-waiting) have some English lessons… and learn a swear word!

III, Scene v – Nym has been caught robbing a church and has been condemned to did. Pistol tries to get Captain Fluellen to intercede on his behalf, but Fluellen – a stickler for rules – refuses to do so. This angers Pistol, who swears to get revenge on Fluellen.

III, Scene vi – The French are upset by the loss of Harfleur and make more serious preparations for war

III, Scene vii – Montjoy, a herald from the French, comes to Henry and tries to convince him to surrender. Henry refuses, despite the fact that his army is sick, weak, and vastly outnumbered.

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Act IV

The Chorus shows us the two armies, on the night before the battle, around their campfires

IV, Scene i – The French are still over-confident and spend the night boasting, especially the Dauphin

IV, Scene ii – Henry disguises himself as a common soldier and goes among his men, to encourage them. Disguised, he meets Pistol, who is still swearing revenge on Fluellen. Pistol says he is going to disrespect the leek (a type of onion!) that is an important symbol to the Welsh.

IV, Scene iii — Henry goes off on his own to pray, overwhelmed by his responsibility for the lives of his troops. The English troops are outnumbered and afraid, but Henry rallies them with another inspiring speech.

IV, Scene iv – The Battle. Pistol finds himself and small and feeble French soldier to shake down for money.

IV, Scene v – The French, ashamed by their failings in battle, swear to battle harder

IV, Scene vi – Henry and his uncle Exeter meet and discuss the battle

IV, Scene vii – Fluellen enters, carrying the dead Boy. We learn that the French have killed unarmed English servants. In response, Henry calls for the English to kill their prisoners. Both of these actions are against the ‘rules of war’. Herald Montjoy comes again and we learn that the English have won the battle. But victory comes at a price of grief and death.

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Act V

The Chorus tells us that Henry returned victorious to England, but now has been called back to France by the French King, to sign the peace treaty and to marry princess Katherine.

V, Scene i – Pistol has taken his revenge on Fluellen by insulting the leek (remember? The onion?). In this scene, Fluellen (and his leek) are encouraged by his friend Capt Gower to get revenge back on Pistol.

V, Scene ii – Henry is in the French court, where he has to learn enough French to woo the Princess. Peace treaties are signed.

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Epilogue

The Chorus tells us that although all has ended well, Henry dies young, his son is only a baby when he’s crowned King, and due to mismanagement, all the French land for which Henry went to battle are regained by France.

Henry V Poster

April 12, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Our poster this year was designed by one of the teens in the troupe, Hannah Gehman

Henry Poster

Such Stuff Players Support MTYP

April 11, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

By request, the Such Stuff Players made a small appearance last night at the Forks for a town hall meeting hosted by the Friends of Manitoba Theater for Young People. Our young people acted out a few scenes as we were waiting for the meeting to begin. Such Stuff Players are grateful to the help that MTYP graduates and staff have offered to us over the years – helping us improve our skills and presence – and it was lovely to be able to offer some support back. (Knavish Hedgehogs, which is an offshoot of Such Players, currently consists of Such Stuff and MTYP actors!)

It was also a wonderful opportunity for some of our actors to get a first chance at “busking.”

The meeting seems to have been successful and Such Stuff Players looks forward to MTYP’s continued vibrant presence in our community.

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Such Stuff Players Have a Day of Pink

April 10, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Today the Such Stuff Players practised in pink to support the Day of Pink, an anti-bullying campaign initiated by Red Cross Manitoba.

Such Stuff Players Day of Pink

(Thanks to RexFB for the picture!)

A Summary of Henry V

April 3, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Here’s a short summary of the play. Such Stuff Players is offering a 1 hour version. Tickets are available here.

The play is set in England in the early fifteenth century. The political situation in England is tense: King Henry IV has died, and his son, the young King Henry V, has just assumed the throne. Several bitter civil wars have left the people of England restless and dissatisfied. Furthermore, in order to gain the respect of the English people and the court, Henry must live down his wild adolescent past, when he used to consort with thieves and drunkards at the Boar’s Head Tavern on the seedy side of London.

Henry lays claim to certain parts of France, based on his distant roots in the French royal family and on a very technical interpretation of ancient land laws. When the young prince, or Dauphin, of France sends Henry an insulting message in response to these claims, Henry decides to invade France. Supported by the English noblemen and clergy, Henry gathers his troops for war.

Henry’s decision to invade France trickles down to affect the common people he rules. In the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap, some of the king’s former friends—whom he rejected when he rose to the throne—prepare to leave their homes and families. Bardolph, Pistol, and Nim are common lowlifes and part-time criminals, on the opposite end of the social spectrum from their royal former companion. As they prepare for the war, they remark on the death of Falstaff, an elderly knight who was once King Henry’s closest friend.

Just before his fleet sets sail, King Henry learns of a conspiracy against his life. The three traitors working for the French beg for mercy, but Henry denies their request. He orders that the trio, which includes a former friend named Scrope, be executed. The English sail for France, where they fight their way across the country. Against incredible odds, they continue to win after conquering the town of Harfleur, where Henry gives an impassioned speech to motivate his soldiers to victory. Among the officers in King Henry’s army are men from all parts of Britain, such as Fluellen, a Welsh captain. As the English advance, Nim and Bardolph are caught looting and are hanged at King Henry’s command.

The climax of the war comes at the famous Battle of Agincourt, at which the English are outnumbered by the French five to one. The night before the battle, King Henry disguises himself as a common soldier and talks to many of the soldiers in his camp, learning who they are and what they think of the great battle in which they have been swept up. When he is by himself, he laments his ever-present responsibilities as king. In the morning, he prays to God and gives a powerful, inspiring speech to his soldiers. Miraculously, the English win the battle, and the proud French must surrender at last. Some time later, peace negotiations are finally worked out: Henry will marry Catherine, the daughter of the French king. Henry’s son will be the king of France, and the marriage will unite the two kingdoms.

Sparks Notes

If You Can Mock a Leek, You Can Eat a Leek

April 2, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

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We thought we might try interviewing our newest cast member.

SSP: So Leekie, what made you want to join our little troupe?

Leekie: I thought it was a great part and it seemed so much more fulfilling than casserole or soup work.

SSP: Can you tell us a little about the part without any spoilers?

Leekie: Well basically I’m friends with this great captain Fluellen. He’s Welsh and a little bit different from the rest of the English and everyone knows it but we’re good friends, always hanging out and such. He’s a Welshman and some Welshmen have been known to even wear their leek friends in their Monmouth caps – that’s a special kind of Welsh hat!

SSP: So, do you see much action in the war?

Leekie: Nah, but afterwards I get to beat up this kind of scummy thief who’s been on Fluellen’s case for awhile. It’s kind of dangerous and so we may be using a body stunt double, but it’s a great little part and I’m having a lot of fun. The cast and crew are awesome.

SSP: Well, we look forward to seeing your debut.

Leekie: I hope everyone will make an effort to come and see the show. And I’d really like to encourage any vegetables out there who might be interested in acting to take the plunge and give it a try.

You can see Leekie in his “Leek about the Pate” scene at the Such Stuff Players performance of Henry V on April 23-25, 2013.

Behind The Scenes – Full Day Rehearsals

April 2, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Such Stuff Players have been practicing Tuesday mornings and all day Thursdays for a few weeks now. Next week we start full time weekday rehearsals!

The English and French Face Off

The English and French Face Off

The War Heats Up

The War Heats Up

Working Hard Off Stage

Working Hard Off Stage

Costuming Begins

January 27, 2013 in 2013 Henry V

Costuming Begins

Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth-it really does establish who they are.
Colleen Atwood

And with that in mind, we had our first costuming meeting where we brainstormed ideas and came up with our initial plan.

Then at our weekly group meeting we unpacked the various collection of costumes and fabric that we already have and bounced our ideas of the rest of the actors. Everyone is excited about the possibilities.

For some initial ideas of what we are considering you can check out a few of our Pinterest boards here, here, and here.