Henry IV Reflection

After I finished reading the summaries of Henry IV parts 1 and 2, I was very excited to see the play. Unfortunately, when I entered the “theater”, my expectations dropped. For such a highly recommended acting of the play, I did not expect the stage to be a basketball court, with the audience surrounding it from all sides. As the play continued, however, I did not even notice the other side of audience much because the actors acted in such a way that both sides got to see all of the action.

As for the twist of the play within a play, I would have to say that it was highly creative. In the beginning, I got to see how the prisoners were brought in, and even from that point, they were already in their roles, acting like prisoners. Furthermore, the actual fights within the play, as well as the interruptions in it added action to the play, making it more appealing to the current generation.

Although the guards were not major contributors to the play, they did change the overall perspective of it. May it be them constantly keeping an eye on the prisoners from behind the seating area, or from the top of the cage, or even the harsh way they closed the gates, their actions added on to the theme of prison. Aside from that, they did not even allow people to leave the cage during the play.

One thing that I cannot forgive the director was the lack of props. I understand that it is meant to be a prison setting, but really? Child toys as props? A prison is more likely to have actual tables or supplies for the prisoners to make the props from than play sets for children. The only possible reason I can think of for choosing these props were that they were easy to move in between acts.

Overall, I would say that I liked the play, but if I had to choose, I would much rather see a traditional style Shakespearean play. The edits added to it did add action, but it did not seem like Shakespeare would do something like this. May it be that I was not expecting this, or any other plausible reason, I simply did not see the point of this change. As for the actors, bravo, you really did a great job in portraying masculine roles.

Ps. The phone (picture attached) was an actual old-style phone, Professor Ugoretz.


  • Ben K


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  1. adamsul

    Hey Ben, I really appreciate you put some pictures up because I was not able to attend this play. It definitely does not fit the image in my head that I had of it. The Basketball type court definitely surprised me. The clothes being worn, the setting, the way the audience has to sit on bleachers, its fair to say even without being there that this probably wasn’t a typical Shakespearean play. But that was probably the point. After all, the cast is all female which was a decision by the writers to make sure this play is non-orthodox.

    • belpben

      I’m glad the pictures were able to help you gain a better understanding of how unusual the presentation of this play was, Adam. Although the pictures do not fully show it, I want to add that the actors may have played multiple roles, whilst still wearing the same costumes, further contributing to the complexity of this act.

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