Of the three performances our class has seen so far, “Henry IV,” by William Shakespeare, was easily my favorite. I think the most important thing about these pieces, is the presentation of the story. The performer’s acting, the setting, and the innovative use of the props grabbed my attention and successfully communicated the riveting story.
My favorite actress in the play, by far, was Jane Anouka, who played Sir Harry (Hotspur) Percy. Normally in literature and live performances, including plays, movies, and TV shows, I favor the protagonist over the antagonist. I have not been able to give up the mentality of that good will always triumph over evil. However, in this play, the adversary that tries to kill his father, King Henry IV, in an attempt to take control, was the most brilliant in my eyes. In addition to the character’s nature in Shakespeare’s play, the sheer passion that the actress presented us with was awe-inspiring. I was amazed how the actress was able to argue fervently with other characters and perform athletically at the same time without showing even the faintest appearance of exhaustion.
Initially, I was somewhat disappointed with the informality of the play using a DJ for music and children’s toys as props. My perception changed completely after the first few minutes. These two aspects were brilliantly intertwined into the play as a source of comedic effect. Never did I imagine myself laughing at a performance of one of Shakespeare’s renowned plays. Furthermore, when the play took on a serious tone, I found myself too distracted by the intense plot and acting, to notice the simple props.
I was also intrigued by the “play within a play” concept prevalent in several scenes throughout the performance. It added a unique twist to the play, where the viewer is forced to consider multiple settings, rather than just watching the piece exactly as it was written by Shakespeare. It allowed people who are not as familiar and comfortable with of Shakespeare to appreciate the play in a different way.
Even despite the lack of an intermission for a two hour and fifteen minutes performance, I have no complaints! I had a remarkable experience.