The epic story of King Henry V's battle with the French during the Hundred Years' War comes alive for the first time at the Folger Theatre, in William Shakespeare's historical drama Henry V. The production, directed by Robert Richmond (Othello and Henry VIII at the Folger), stars Zach Appelman (War Horse on Broadway) in his Folger Theatre debut as Henry V, and will run from January 22 - March 3, 2013.
The final play of Shakespeare's history cycle (preceded by Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2), Henry V tells the story of a young king seeking to reunite his strife-torn kingdom by launching a campaign to seize the throne of France. After his invasion's initial success however, the king finds himself facing a vastly superior French force in the fields of Agincourt - and with it, the ultimate test of his leadership. Facing factious lords and civil turmoil, Henry learns what it is to be king and realizes perhaps the most stunning victory of all -- the capacity of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.
"Henry V is one of the most compelling plays in the Classical canon," says Richmond. "It is the story of a young man's rite of passage, a story of a nation dealing with the effects of war, a story that focuses on a nation galvanizing behind a leadership for the greater good of the whole. In this election year, there would seem no better play that could deal with these issues and perhaps bring a contemporary audience to reflect upon their time." Richmond continues, "The play never fails to speak to each generation, attracting and fascinating us with its themes of victory and unification. Perhaps a play about leadership of a war-torn nation is a barometer by which we can form an opinion about where our society sits, and what we should, or should not, become in the future."
This gripping story of leadership and ambition features an extraordinary cast including Katie deBuys as Katherine, the Princess of France, Richard SheriDan Willis as the Chorus, Louis Butelli as Bardolph, Chris Genebach as Captain MacMorris, the Irish officer in Henry's army, Catherine Flye as Hostess Quickly and her braggart husband Pistol is played by James Keegan. The production also stars Edward Christian (King of France), Michael John Casey (Nym), Pomme Koch (Constable of France), Cameron Pow (Captain Fluellen), Andrew Schwartz (Dauphin of France), and Jessica Witchger (Ensemble).
The award-winning creative team includes four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Tony Cisek (set design), Mariah Hale (costume design), Andrew Griffin (lighting design), Michael Rasbury (sound design), and Casey Kaleba (fight director).
The production is conceived and designed with a very open hand. The Chorus in the very beginning asks the audience to forgive the lack of realism and to use their imagination for this epic story: "Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts" and "on your imaginary forces work".
"The creative team have taken Shakespeare's advice and used the cast of 13 actors to cover all of the 48 named characters that appear in the play," states Richmond. "Our aim is to allow an audience to enjoy and recognize the virtuosity and transformation of each actor. This makes an audience complicit in the action and a vital part of the magic of each performance - 'For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings.'"
Henry V plays at Folger Theatre from January 22 - March 3, 2013. Tickets are $30 - $68. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, educators, and groups of ten or more are available - and may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at 202.544.7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.