The production of Henry V is full of edge of the seat moments and wonderful theatrical choices. Henry V is a serious dramatic play but the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival also knows how to make it comical. In the middle of a serious scene, the actors were able to generate a laugh from the audience.
Another amazing feature of the show was how the actors and actresses played multiple roles throughout the production. Sylvester Little Jr., who has been with the company for five seasons, played the Earl of Cambridge along with Prince Dauphin. Rob Jansen played the Earl of Westmoreland and the French King. Although there were multiple roles played it was easy to believe the actors because of the way they performed each role. This is probably because all the members within the company have had extensive training at colleges and other theaters.
“Henry V is a universal play about universal themes,” R. Chris Reeder, director of Henry V, said in a statement.
It captures the horrors of war and the glories of war in equal amounts- in the same way it show both the comedy and the tragedy of human existence. Unfortunately, if you haven’t read or seen Henry IV part 1 and 2, Henry V may be difficult to understand.
However, the CSF provides its audience with programs that gives a synopsis of Henry V along with who’s playing who. The theatre itself is very intimate because it is small and the company managed to use every ounce of it in this production. It was an interesting choice by the director to have actors run up and down the aisles during the battle scenes, making the audience feel like their were actually in it.
Since this play deals with the war between France and England, some of the actors and actresses, if not all, had to be bilingual. There was even a scene where Corinne Mohlenhoff, who played the part of Kate, and Anita Ross, who played the part of Alice, spoke only French, which was very impressive.
Henry V will run at the CSF from Jan. 6 through Jan. 30 with shows Thursday through Sunday. If you’re interested in learning more about the show the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival also holds a meet the artists session after their Sunday productions.