On Tuesday night, November 10, we went to go see Henry IV at St. Ann’s Warehouse. What was unique about this play was that it was performed by an all-female cast. The story was “modernized,” and instead of taking place in medieval Britain with sword fights and knights, it took place in contemporary times, in a women’s prison. It therefore served as a “play within a play,” in that the female cast members acted as inmates who were acting out Henry IV with the props they had available in the prison.


Overall, I would say the very concept of the prison was a phenomenal concept, and I loved how it was more or less hidden until the very end of the play. (After watching the beginning scene of the inmates marching in, and the scene where one of the girls runs offstage crying, followed by the guards marching in, I was very confused. I hadn’t put everything together until the very end, and I had one of those “aaaahhhhhhhhhh” moments when you finally figure something out.) The story was very intriguing, and my eyes were glued to the stage all the way through. Additionally, the acting was way above par (especially the actresses playing Henry IV and Hotspur), and I really liked that they interacted with the audience.


However, there were some things that I disliked about the play. First and foremost, I disliked the informality of the setting. One may argue that the informality was necessary for the plot itself, being that it takes place in a women’s prison. However, I felt that some of the props and scenes were straight out childish, and I didn’t find them very humorous (just my humble opinion). Moreover, I felt that the play would’ve worked best on a traditional stage, rather than a square stage surrounded on all four sides by the audience. This made it harder to hear and see what was going on at all times.