For me, Henry IV was difficult to follow.  I never liked Shakespearean English, or Shakespeare’s plays in general. However, the play at St. Ann’s was more than about the story.  It was about the setting, the choreography, the lighting, the music, the props, and the actors themselves.

Jade Anouka, the actress who played the prisoner who played Hotspur, was phenomenal.  Her seamless blend of physical activity and line delivery was beautiful.  Easily my favorite character, I loved the enthusiasm and energy in every line of her performance.  The fighting-at-a-distance was satisfying to watch, because the movements were really fluid and the sound effects were a nice touch.  The changing of props in front of us was interesting, in contrast to the opera stage which was much bigger and used higher budget property.  This setup change was integrated into the theater experience with music and steel pans (I love percussion instruments).  The jokes were funny (when I understood them), especially the Scottish independence bit.  I don’t know how I feel about the production “breaking down” at the “hotdog down a hallway” joke, I’m not sure I wanted to be reminded that we were still in a prison.

It reminded me that I couldn’t go to the bathroom for another hour until they opened the gates again.

This brings me to my dislikes.  What I didn’t like about the the performance was the lack of intermission.  Sitting through over 2 hours in one go is not fun for me, it’s one reason I don’t really watch movies.  The confusing plot points took away from the performance as well.

I enjoyed the opera a lot more than the performance, because I felt a wider range of emotions.  The beautiful singing and the detailed stage construction made me like it more.  It felt shorter thanks to the intermissions, which were really good for socializing and just catching a break.  The translation was really thoughtful, the play would’ve done well with a modern English translation as well.  The atmosphere just felt richer overall.  I remember at one point the hair on my arms stood up when Tosca sang.  I think the humor on Tosca is more relatable as well.  Everyone seemed to laugh at the “jealous girlfriend” stereotype, but everyone also shared the respect for Tosca when she murdered her assailant.  The story was so rich (sometimes too many details) but all in all it’s something I would watch again.  Tosca gave me a new perspective on opera, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to experience both the opera and the play.


But the opera was better (for me).