Thursday, February 16, 2012

"The Making of a King" Reading List

by Connie Mahan, Marketing Director

A select, eclectic and accessible pop culture film-bibliography:
or, a raft of film, TV and books in connection with our topic.
(Lord help me, I’ve read and watched all these and many more.)

  • The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933/Charles Laughton as a rollicking monarch, plus a flock of early British film stars)
  • Tower of London (1937/Boris Karloff, with Basil Rathbone as Richard III)
  • Henry V (1944/Laurence Olivier, 1998/Kenneth Branagh)
  • Richard III (1955/Laurence Olivier, 1995/Ian McKellen)
  • The Lion in Winter (1968/Peter O’Toole as Henry II and Katharine Hepburn his Eleanor of Aquitaine. The 2003 version with Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart is not at all bad either.)
  • Becket (1964/Richard Burton in the title role with Peter O’Toole, as a younger Henry II)
  • Anne of the Thousand Days (1969/ Burton as Henry VIII this time)
TV series:
  • "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" (1970 BBC)
  • "Elizabeth R" (1971 BBC)
  • "The Shadow of the Tower: The Rise of the Tudor Dynasty" (1972 BBC)
  • "The Tudors" (2007-2010 Showtime/BBC America)
  • "Terry Jones: Medieval Lives" (2004 BBC, fun semi-animated documentary by the former Monty Pythoner)
  • "Black Adder" (1982… BBC, Rowan Atkinson’s fractured history sitcom, the first of the four series is set in the British Middle Ages circa Richard III)
  • "A History of Britain" (2000-2002 BBC/The History Channel)
  • "Monarchy" (2004-2006 UK Channel 4)
Film and TV selections available on Netflix, among other outlets.

  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009) mega award-winning fictionalized bio of the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the reign of Henry VIII
  • The Women of the Cousins’ War, the Duchess, the Queen and the King’s Mother (2011), biographical compilation by Philippa Gregory and others
  • The White Queen (2009), The Red Queen (2010), The Lady of the Rivers (2011), The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), The Constant Princess (2005), The Boleyn Inheritance (2006), and other historical novels of the Wars of the Roses and Tudor Court by Philippa Gregory
  • Mary Queen of Scots (1969), The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England (editor, 1975), The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s Lot in 17th Century England (1984), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1992) by Lady Antonia Fraser (Pinter)
Could go on and on with works on Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc and others…but we’ll save those for another play/another blog post.

Connie Mahan

Anglophile, history and film maven

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The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V is now playing through March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Behind the Grime" by Rachel Pollock

by Rachel Pollock, Crafts Artisan

My favorite project on Henry IV is far and away the aging process for Falstaff's fiddleback leather coat, which was custom made for actor Michael Winters in the role. We brought on board tailor Kara Monroe (also a UNC alum from our costume production MFA program) to pattern and construct the coat from three hides of lovely buttery leather. (It had to be big to go over Mr. Winters' prodigious fat padding suit!)

Kara made a beautiful garment, but a just-made coat looks like exactly that: a new piece of clothes! Falstaff is not the sort of man who has a brand new anything in this play, unless it's maybe a brand new bottle of booze. Costume Designer Jennifer Caprio had very clear ideas about the nature of the coat--my notes from our discussion about the aging say:
  • his favorite coat
  • worn it for 30 years in battle/war/bar brawls
  • lays around brothels in it
  • drinks all night in it, passes out in it

Costume design rendering by Jennifer Caprio
Michael Winters as Falstaff in a fitting for the coat.
I tell my students that the nature of the aging process is twofold. There's breakdown, which might be as simple as laundering a new shirt with washing soda or might be as extensive as ripping a ragged hem or tearing holes in knees/elbows. And, there's pigment age, which might be dipping white shirt in a pot of tea or might be splattering it with paint or ink or dye. For the Falstaff coat, I did very little breakdown, only using a fine grit sandpaper on some of the flat-fell seams and across the tops of the shoulders, just to soften the leather and rough up the surface a tad. The majority of work involved pigment aging--in this case, application of leather dyes and French Enamel Varnish.

French Enamel Varnish, more commonly called FEV in our industry, is a medium that you mix yourself according to your needs. Its components are leather dye, denatured alcohol, and shellac, and your project determines the ratio. If you need something runny, use a minimal amount of shellac; if you need something thick, use a lot of shellac and not much alcohol. Use more dye for more pigmentation, less for lighter hues. Use gloves when you work with it and only apply it in a well-ventilated area. I cut on the big wall vents in my dye shop and, thanks to the mild winter, even opened the windows.

Application of FEV on interior of Falstaff coat.
I applied this treatment in four layers, and unfortunately it went fast enough and I was busy enough I only have the one process shot laying on the table. But I can tell you about it! First, I used a dauber to apply tan leather dye to all the seams on the coat. Kara and Jen had put a lot of thought into the construction of this coat and I wanted to highlight that fiddleback seam placement, and the number of gores in the frock. The tan leather dye served to pump up the eye's perception of those seams onstage.

Next, I used a toothbrush to flick the tan dye and some medium brown leather dye up from the hem like residual stains from ancient mud splatters, and also to drip it down from above (like drunk-guy spillage and rain-stain from some bad weather on an age-old battlefield) onto the lapels and chest. I also used a chip brush with the two kinds of leather dye and two related colors of FEV to paint a sort of ombre effect from the hem up, to create some sweat stains in the armpits and around the collar, and to do some allover dry-brush toning.

Front view on form.
Rear view on form.
Stage shot of ensemble by Jon Gardiner with Michael Winters as Falstaff in foreground.
Hope you enjoyed seeing "behind the grime," and if you are in the Triangle area, definitely check out these two plays. They are, quite literally, epic.

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The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V is now playing through March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Welding fit for a King"
by Trevor Collins

Trevor is a carpenter in the PlayMakers scene shop and is responsible for building the sets for Mainstage and PRC2 productions.

Big Bertha, the massive PlayMakers welder
In the PlayMakers shop there are three Lincoln Electric MIG welders, however only one of them has been given a name: Bertha. Big Bertha to be precise, and she is about two sizes larger than the other two newer welders in the shop. The graduate students, both past and present, remember her fondly. Despite her larger size, given a choice, Bertha is the welder we reach for nine times out of ten.
For the set build of Henry IV and Henry V, Bertha saw a lot of action. Since the set is predominantly made of steel, we required a larger number of crew members in the steel section of the shop than usual.  With so much steel in the production, all three welders have been employed, but Bertha has remained the favorite.

“Welding” or steel work is about 70% preparation, 10% welding, and 20% clean up. After all of the work of cutting the numerous pieces, setting up the countless jigs, bending all of the trussing and double checking everything a multitude of times, having Bertha at your side, to assist in creating one of the nicest welding beads you’ve ever produced, is icing on the cake.

What sets Bertha apart from the other MIG welders in the shop is that the black box housing the welding wire is removable. It can be rolled around about 20 feet away from where the rest of Bertha is. Once we moved the set into the Paul Green Theatre, we were able to keep Bertha at the back wall of the theatre and weld anywhere on the set, saving us lots of time and energy in not having to lift one of the welders onto the stage.

Bertha is a vital piece of equipment in the scene shop enabling us to complete our sets in time for tech. She is one of those tools that makes you wonder how any shop could survive with out having a Big Bertha of their own.

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The Making of a King: Henry IV and Henry V runs January 28 to March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Sketches to the Stage

Costume designer Jennifer Caprio has generously shared some of her design materials with us to give an inside look at the design process. Here are a couple of her beautiful watercolor "renderings," shown alongside actual production photos that show how the final costume came together.


Falstaff Costume Rendering
Falstaff, played by Michael Winters, with young prince Hal (Shawn Fagan)

Hotspur Costume Rendering
Hotspur, played by Cody Nickell (R), with Worcester (Ray Dooley)

Costume design images courtesy of Jennifer Caprio.
Production photos by Jon Gardiner.

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The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V is now playing through March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"The Making of a World" by Elizabeth Moss

by Props Artisan Elizabeth Moss

Elizabeth works in the PlayMakers Props Shop, which is responsible for building or borrowing all the props and furniture for each production, including The Making of a King.

"The Making of a World: Props for Henrys IV and V"
Down in the scene shop they’re putting on the final touches, onstage they’re focusing lights and painting late into the night. Upstairs the costume shop is racing to the finish, and directly above us we can hear the sounds of battle being staged.

But what are we doing down in the prop shop, tucked away in the middle of the building?  Some days it seems like everything! The nature of a prop shop is wide ranging, and if it’s not worn or part of the stage: we’re doing it. We’ve got everything you need to wage two wars in two countries. On a thrust stage where the actual scenery does not change from one place to another, it is the furniture that indicates the shift from a London Palace to a battlefield in France. Let me give you a little idea of what’s going on in the shop.

Today the front table is littered in letters, arrest warrants, and proclamations: paper goods are almost finished: a few royal looking seals, some ribbon maybe, and each set (there are many backups for each letter) will be packaged in an envelope, and labeled with scene number and short description
Over on the ironing table is a fur lined blankets for the Percys. Gets cold up in those northern castles I guess. Draped over one of the sewing machines is a pile of gold fabric; it’s just been turned into a Pavilion drape for the French. On the back tables Joncie, one of our fabulous over-hires is making a flask and holster for Falstaff.  We’re also working on reupholstering a chaise, and building a bathtub. Down the ships ladder in the carpentry area we’ve just finished with Henry IV’s bed and the bottom half of the chaise.

Then there’s the life sized boar in the hallway. We’ll call him Richard. We’re still not sure if he’ll be making his PlayMakers’ Debut with this show, but he’s fun to have around.

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The Making of a King: Henry IV & Henry V is now playing through March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.

The Making of a King: Is it Opening yet?

by "our secret source in tech"

Three days until opening and we are still tweaking the show. All of it worth it, of course, but my body and mind are starting to feel the strain. I feel like that guy in The Wages of Fear driving a truckload of nitroglycerine across a lunar landscape... "No... Sleep... 'Til Harfleur!"

Some observations:
  • Everyday I key into something different. Last night I was struck by Patrick McHugh's pitch-perfect Poins, and the strength with which Dee Dee Battest (Montjoy) will plant herself and serve up text.
  • There's Jennifer Tipton up on the scafolding... she's still checking light levels.
  • Did I just hear a dog barking on stage?

  • What? The rain on stage is fueled by the mens dressing room shower? and here I thought they had a deferred maintenance issue.
  • When did Billy Corgan join the cast? Oh wait, that's Ray Dooley.
  • Wow, Westmorland has a really big sword.
  • Why wasn't Tug dressed in battle armor for Shrewsbury?
I come from Eastcheap

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The background of 'The Making of a King'

 Background and dramaturgy material courtesy of dramaturg Adam Versényi

Plot Summaries

The Making of A King draws its events from a group of four related plays by Shakespeare:  Richard II, Henry IV, Part I, Henry IV, Part II and Henry V.  In Richard II we see the downfall of one king and the rise of another.  Richard II banishes Henry Bolingbroke and claims all of his lands and possessions.  Henry returns to England and, with his allies the Northumberland Percys, leads a rebellion. Richard is defeated, forced to abdicate the throne, and Bolingbroke is crowned Henry IV. 

The two parts of Henry IV I show us the fractious nature of the new king’s reign.  Threatened constantly by insurrection, much of it led by his erstwhile allies the Percys; Henry IV is also greatly distressed by the behavior of Prince Hal, his son and heir, and we track his journey from youthful abandon in the taverns of Eastcheap to valor in his father’s cause during the Battle of Shrewsbury.  By the end of the play Prince Hal distances himself from his old drinking companions, especially the father-substitute he found there, Sir John Falstaff, and is crowned Henry V.

In Henry V we see the new king as a man who feels he has been called upon to cement the control of the Plantagenet line on the English throne and to unite the kingdoms of France and England.  Following his father’s advice to launch a foreign war to quell civil unrest at home, the young king decisively invades France. In the process he demonstrates his growing understanding of statecraft as he dispatches both aristocratic traitors and common soldier thieves from his old tavern days. By the play’s end Henry V, against monumental odds, defeats the French at Agincourt, marries the French King’s daughter Katherine, and is crowned King of England and France combined.

From Agincourt by Juliet Barker, October 2005

The Making of A King

Henry IV, in Henry Holland,
Baziliologia, 1618
While the British Monarch is largely a figurehead today, the subject of royal weddings, Helen Mirren films, and tabloid scandals, the British Monarchy was for much of its existence a powerful political and military force.  That is not the way it began, however, and Shakespeare’s plays deal in many ways with the personal, dynastic and social forces that forged the monarchic state.

Henry IV shows us Prince Hal’s coming into his own during the uncertain times that follow his father’s usurpation of Richard II’s throne.  Henry IV is bedeviled by numerous forces:  civil unrest fomented by the lords who helped him claim the throne and now feel abandoned by him; fear that Richard II’s designated heir, Edmund Mortimer, will press his claim to the throne; and the clear sense that, by killing Richard, he has both violated the divine right of kings and made it impossible to assume that right for himself.

The beginning of the play focuses on the tension between a centralized monarchy and the diverse geographical regions, languages, and cultures that comprised the British monarchy. Henry IV is trying to break the grip of powerful independent warlords, particularly from the North, who have challenged the authority of the king.  In essence, what Shakespeare dramatizes here is a painful transition from a feudal system to a nation-state. The Northumberland Percys and Worcester place feudal loyalties above fealty to a single monarch and Hotspur is the strongest embodiment of feudal chivalry with its code of honor, its admiration of heroism on the battlefield, and its elevation of loyalty to self and family above any loyalty to the state.

Hotspur’s greatest danger to Henry is his assertion of feudal rights against the law of the land.  Rather than the traditional image of the monarch as the sun, Hotspur sees him as the moon, a mere reflection of the king that Henry deposed.  Fiercely independent, embracing personal honor and lineage over nationalism, valuing bravery and force of arms for its own sake rather than what it can achieve, and zealously asserting his political autonomy, Hotspur is a weapon skillfully wielded by those, such as Northumberland and Westmoreland, who want to break Henry’s rule.

An artist's illustration of the town and part of Harfluer.

Shakespeare alters his sources to make Prince Hal and Hotspur the same age—the historical Hotspur was closer in age to Henry—and makes the Hal of his play a bit older than he was in reality. The historical Hal was only twelve years old during the Battle of Shrewsbury where, despite being wounded by an arrow in his face, he fought valiantly.  Shakespeare makes these alterations to make Hal and Hotspur’s final confrontation more dramatically compelling, and Hal must defeat Hotspur to inherit a secure kingship from his father, but his greater challenge will be to defeat the lure of the tavern world where first we find him reveling.

Taverns were alehouses where anyone could drink publicly. All layers of society from the criminal to the courtly mixed freely outside the rigid class distinctions and constraints of the court. During Henry Bolingbroke’s exile Hal was a ward of Richard II and the experience of watching his father depose and execute his mentor may also contribute to Hal’s motivation for fleeing the court to dally in the tavern world.  Where Hotspur is a rival for Hal, Falstaff is presented as surrogate father to him and, therefore, a rival to Henry for paternal authority.

Shakespeare seems to be suggesting that Falstaff the thief is akin to Henry the usurper, who stole the throne from Richard.  Both create positions of power they base upon theft.  Hal, who will inherit the kingship through legitimate succession, has the opportunity to establish the crown as rightly his.  All of this suggests, and the play extends the idea, that political power depends not upon divine right, but upon performance.  He who best plays the king is the king. This is a particularly apt concept for Elizabethan England where, as Machiavelli observed in The Prince,  “political power is secured by theatrical illusion—a populace can best be controlled by dissimulation, image-making, and role-play.”

This is one reason that Henry IV’s recurring illness became such an issue both historically and in the play.  What he actually suffered from is unclear, only that he suffered many bouts of a debilitating illness starting in 1405.  Whatever the specifics of the diagnosis, all his contemporaries agreed that his illness was divine retribution for having usurped the throne.  Henry himself seems to have believed this as well.  The first words of his will are, “I, Henry, sinful wretch” and refer to “the life I have mispended”.

While Henry IV begins with the world of the court and the feudal lords, the play also presents a richly observed catalogue of all of the other social classes that comprise the new nation.  Hal boasts that he “can drink with any tinker in his own language”, implying that being able to speak the common tongue is essential to his future governance.  Throughout the play Shakespeare explores various alternatives to the official speech of the court, moving those voices from the margins to the center, with the loudest voice of all provided by Falstaff. 

As the play proceeds Falstaff is increasingly painted as a cynical, manipulative and degenerate character that Hal must reject in order to rule.  But the brio with which Falstaff speaks, the bravado with which he moves, and the keen eye with which Shakespeare observes denizens of the world beyond the court insures that while we understand the necessity of Hal’s transformation into Henry V, the demands of the state also reject human compassion and theatrical excitement.  Our sympathies remain with Falstaff.
Henry V in a fifteenth century
portrait by an unknown artist.
Shakespeare’s Henry V dramatizes the new king’s decisiveness as he moves to consolidate his power at home and brilliantly beats the French at Agincourt.  Interestingly enough, the animosity between the English and the French, many of the techniques of warfare that they used, and the feudal system that Henry IV began to break and that Henry V completely quashed, can all be traced back to the Norman invasion of England in 1066.

By the time of Henry V’s rule the feudal system had largely been superseded by a centralized state and by invading France Henry resumed the Hundred Years War.  Its basic cause was a dynastic quarrel between the kings of England, who held the duchy of Guienne, in France, and resented paying homage to the kings of France. The conflict languished until 1415, when Henry V defeated France’s best knights at Agincourt.  He then allied himself with Burgundy and went on to subdue Normandy.  In the Treaty of Troyes (1420), Charles VI of France was forced to recognize Henry as regent and heir to the throne of France, disinheriting his own son, the Dauphin.  By 1429 the English and their Burgundian allies controlled practically all of France north of the Loire and had Orléans under siege.

French fortunes were reversed that year, however.  Joan of Arc lifted the siege of Orléans and saw the dauphin crowned Charles VII at Rheims.  Her capture and execution did not end the string of French victories.  In 1435 Charles obtained an alliance with Burgundy, and by 1450 France had reconquered Normandy.  By 1451 all of Guienne except Bordeaux was in French hands.  Bordeaux fell in 1453, leaving the English only Calais (which they retained until 1558).  Domestic difficulties, specifically the War of the Roses, kept England from making any further attempts to conquer France.  The Hundred Years War inflicted untold misery on the French people.  Famine, the Black Death, and roving bands of marauders decimated the population.  An entirely new France emerged.  The virtual destruction of the feudal nobility allowed the monarchs to unite the country more solidly under the royal authority and to ally themselves with the newly rising middle class.  England ceased to think of itself as a continental power and began to develop as a sea power.  While this description of the Hundred Years War goes beyond the scope of Henry V’s involvement, it illustrates both the roots of the English-French conflict and how both countries were moving from a feudal worldview to one based upon the concept of the nation-state.

While we have combined these history plays into two nights of performance, up until the twentieth century Shakespeare’s histories were performed largely as stand alone pieces.  Furthermore, both in Shakespeare’s day and throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the two parts of Henry IV were seen as Hotspur and Falstaff’s plays, leading to the probably apocryphal story from Shakespeare’s first editor that Queen Elizabeth was “so well pleas’d with that admirable Character of Falstaff in the two Parts of Henry the Fourth, that she commanded him to continue it for one play more, and to shew him in love”, that being the genesis of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Contemporary performances of these history plays have focused more upon Prince Hal than upon Falstaff or Hotspur, but perhaps more importantly, they have also revealed the broad canvas on which Shakespeare paints his world.

In The Making of A King we travel from high court to lowly tavern, from comedy to tragedy, fact to fiction, private memories to public motives.  While one strand of the plays shows how authoritative control and the making of a nation-state is achieved, another strand of the plays vividly portrays how the diverse populations that live in that new nation-state respond to its creation around them.  As audience members we glory in larger than life characters like Falstaff and Hotspur, but Shakespeare pays no less attention to minor characters like Justice Shallow or the soldier Williams.  Perhaps that is what gives Shakespeare’s history plays their continued appeal.

While the plays’ concern with unifying the nation against the threat of civil war at home and invasion abroad must have resonated with the playwright’s own audience worrying about what would happen to their nation after Elizabeth’s death, our own time is no less unsettled.  As we bring one war to an end in Iraq our soldiers still face horrors in Afghanistan.  Our attempts to stave off economic depression seem tenuous at best.  Natural disasters like hurricanes and the probability of humanly created catastrophes like global warming wreak havoc with our daily lives.  National politics, while not fought on the actual battlefields of war, seem to have devolved into perennial legislative battles where politicians squabble over their own increasingly polarized definitions of what constitutes the nation.  In the meantime the thousands upon thousands of ordinary citizens protesting in the streets occupy our imaginations.  In such an environment Shakespeare’s history plays that constitute The Making of A King still have much to tell us.

Vote for PlayMakers!

It's time for the Independent Weekly's "Best of the Triangle" Awards! There are two categories in particular that we'd like to direct you towards: "Best Live Theater Venue" and "Best Live Theater Company." We're both!

Just visit The Indy’s website and look for us on page 3 of the survey. There are lots of categories, but you only have to answer 20 for your vote to count.

To remember who you're voting for, why don't you take a look back at our 2011 Mainstage productions with us...

Angels in America
by Tony Kushner
"A play everyone should see... brilliant and riveting"
- The News & Observer

Big River
Music and lyrics by Roger Miller
Book by William Hauptman
Adapted from the novel by Mark Twain

"Now that's a musical!"
- Classical Voice of North Carolina

In the Next Room
(or the vibrator play)
by Sarah Ruhl
"Wonderfully insightful and funny"
- Classical Voice of North Carolina

The Parchman Hour
by Mike Wiley
"An exhilarating mix of song, dance, humor, and education"
- Triangle Arts & Entertainment

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
by Edward Albee
"Sizzling and brilliant!"
- The Daily Tar Heel

We had quite a year!
To vote, head on over to and nominate us for "Best Live Theater Company" and "Best Live Theater Venue".

All photos courtesy of Jon Gardiner. Actor credits:
 - Angels in America: Matthew Carlson and Kathryn hunter-Williams.
 - Big River: Jason Edward Cook and David Aron Damane.
 - In the Next Room: Julie Fishell, Katie Paxton and Matthew Greer.
 - The Parchman Hour: Dee Dee Batteast and ensemble.
 - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Ray Dooley and Julie Fishell.

Giving Up The Making of a King

Tom Quaintance
By Tom Quaintance

Twenty-some years ago I met Joe Haj working on the Guthrie Theatre’s History Cycle: Richard II, Henry IV part 1 and 2, Henry V all together in rep.  I was a directing intern just out of college, and Joe was in the acting company shortly after finishing the Professional Actor Training Program at UNC. 

It was an extraordinary experience.  I have more vivid memories from that show, both in rehearsal and performance, than most plays I have directed myself.

Henry V was the also the first Shakespeare I directed, with a $40 budget in a black box, with actors who were in other shows, so we’d rehearse from 11:00pm-2:00am.  I was in grad school in San Diego, and Joe came down and watched me work through the tennis ball scene early in the process.  The note he gave me was perhaps the most important in my entire time at UCSD.  We were struggling through the scene - aside from Henry (Scott Ripley) no one was really prepared.  Here I was, directing in front of the best actor I knew, trying to show what an “actors' director” I was.  We took a break and Joe took me aside and said something along the lines of: “It’s great to give the actors a chance to make a choice, but if you’ve got a better idea, say so. Especially if they have no idea at all.”  I think of that moment as the beginning of our work together as collaborators.

After grad school I directed Henry V twice more, once with Joe in the title role.  When Joe asked me to co-direct “The Henrys” as we were calling it a few years ago, I jumped at the opportunity.  To tackle those plays again! In the context of a country in a constant state of war! With Joe!  Thrilling.

I stopped by a rehearsal a few weeks ago.  I was in town after a meeting with the North Carolina Arts Council for my new job.  The last seven months has seen the birth of my beautiful baby girl Mireille, a move across the country from Los Angeles to NC with my wife Wallis, and a new title: Artistic Director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville.  Like so much else in my career I owe this opportunity in large part to the support of Joe, McKay Coble and all the good folks at PRC.  We go into rehearsal next week for our production of Othello, and I’m having the time of my life, but to take this amazing job I had to give up The Making of a King.  For that brief visit to that rehearsal it was almost physically painful to be in that room watching all my friends bring Henry V to life.  From what I saw “’Tis wonderful.”  I’ll be there opening day and night, and I imagine a few tears will be shed…

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The Making of a King: Henry IV and Henry V runs January 28 to March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.