A Royal Affair: King’s College Presents “Henry V”
On its commemorative 65th anniversary of performing the works of William Shakespeare, King’s College Theatre Department will open its production of “Henry V,” its fourth and final show of the 2014-2015 season.
The show features approximately 35 cast members, both alumni and current students, and tells the legendary tale of King Henry V’s triumph at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, exactly 600 years ago in England.
One of Shakespeare’s historical plays, the show features many elements, ranging from sword fighting to more than a hundred costume pieces. The production cast and crew have been working more than a month and anxiously anticipate the show’s opening on Wednesday, April 15.
Iris Ouellette, a junior double major in English literature and theatre, is the dramaturge and shared some of the historical context.
“The show centers around the battle of Agincourt and the events leading up to it and directly coming after it,” Ouellette said. “In this battle, there were about twenty thousand French soldiers against several thousand English soldiers. So, the English were fairly outnumbered but they still prevailed.”
Kyle McCormack, a junior English major, who plays the title character, gave an analysis of Henry.
“My character is King Henry V and the play is about his rise from a misdirected, misguided youth to being the king of England,” McCormack said. “This is not necessarily a position that fits him well at the beginning, and it’s sort of about his growth at the start of his reign. He has such great energy, and he’s a very dynamic character.”
Brandi George, a 2013 graduate of King’s College, will be performing the role of the King of France. She gave insight on the gender-blind casting in this production.
“With almost any Shakespeare play, there’s a very dire need for a large cast,” George said. “I imagine the gender-blind casting component stemmed from not only this need, but also a conceptual angle, and as it turns out, almost all of the French in Henry V are played by females. The gender-blind casting is a great nod to the Elizabethan era, when all of Shakespeare’s female characters were portrayed by men. It’s a wonderful little reminder of how much theatre, and gender equality, has advanced.”
Nick Klem, a 2014 graduate of King’s College and theatre alumni, discussed his experience with the sword fighting in the play.
“I never really did anything like these fight scenes before and they’re intense and intricate,” Klem said. “It’s really fun to be a part of it and I think they are going to look really good.”
Overall, the experience is a great one for the students involved, according to Jonathon Vojtko, a senior marketing major.
“I think it’s a really great experience here at King’s,” Vojtko said. “I remember coming to see the shows here as a high school student and enjoying them. Now I’m acting in them and we have high school students attending this show. I’m really looking forward to passing on this legacy here and being part of it.”
Matthew Kropp, a junior finance major, concurred that the opportunity is remarkably unique here at King’s College.
“Like our director Dave Reynolds says, not everyone gets the chance to do a Shakespeare play,” Kropp said. “What King’s College Theatre is doing here is giving a lot of students the opportunity to do something not many other schools do.”
The show is certain to be a crowd pleaser with something in it for everyone, according to McCormack.
“I hope that everybody comes to see the show, I really do,” McCormack said. “It’s got action. It’s got romance. It’s got comedy. It has a billion different things going on, and it’s just a really great play. It’s one of Shakespeare’s best.”
Performance dates for Henry V are April 15 – 19 at 7:30 p.m. with an additional matinee on Saturday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase through the George P. Maffei II Theatre Box Office, and admission is free for students.