Antaeus will open its 2015 season with a fully partner-cast production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I, March 6 – May 3, with two opening nights set for March 12 & March 13 (one with each cast). Part comedy, part tragedy, part growing-up tale of youthful rebellion, Henry IV, Part I remains one of Shakespeare’s most exciting histories. From drunken revelry to the bloody battlefield, Antaeus’ lean and muscular version, streamlined for a cast of 12 directed by Michael Murray, dives deep into the heart of the timeless question, “What does it mean to become a man?”
“This is the great epic poem of England,” says Murray, who has previously directed numerous ClassicsFest readings for Antaeus. “It includes the entire spectrum of British society, from the highest to the lowest levels. But what particularly interests me are the personal relationships — the human stories that are at the forefront when you work directly from the text, rather than from popular notions about the play that have developed over the centuries.”
In the Antaeus tradition best known as “partner casting,” two actors share every role, working together throughout the rehearsal process to enrich the creative experience for both cast and audience. Young Prince Hal (Ramón de Ocampo and Michael Kirby) is a king in the making. He is the son of England’s King Henry IV (James Sutorius and Joel Swetow), who usurped the crown from King Richard II. But Hal is not interested in princely matters, and wastes his time in taverns with the lower classes, particularly a bunch of rowdy, drunken thieves, presided over by the fat, merry and wanton knight, Sir John Falstaff (Stephen Caffrey and Gregory Itzin). Both King Henry and Falstaff offer the young lad fatherly advice. But whose will he follow–that of his stern, proper and penitent biological father, or the robust liar, cynical pragmatist and lover of life, Falstaff? The young prince is forced to sober up quickly when his father’s crown is threatened by a rebellion, led by the turncoat Henry “Hotspur” Percy (Daniel Bess and Joe Holt). To defend his father and his country, Hal must forsake his dissolute and bawdy ways, returning home as a prodigal son.
Also appearing in the cast in multiple roles are Sally Hughes and Desirée Mee Jungas as Lady Percy, Francis and others; Mark Bramhall and Joe Hulser as Westmoreland, Glendower and more; Mitchell Edmonds and Marcelo Tubert as Northumberland, Bardolph and Chamberlain; Jesse Gavin and Jason Turner as Poins and others; Tony Amendola and Bo Foxworth as Worcester and the Sheriff; Tro Shaw and Danielle Thorpe as Gadshill and Lady Mortimer; Rhonda Aldrich and Elizabeth Dennehy as Mistress Quickly, Vernon and more; and Adam J. Smith and Jeff Torres as Blunt and Mortimer.
Scenic design is by François-Pierre Couture; lighting design is by Michael Gend; costume design is by Terri A. Lewis; sound design is by Peter Bayne; props design is by Adam Meyer; fight choreography is by Ken Merckx; dramaturge is Armin Shimerman; assistant directors are Maureen Lee Lenker and Rachel Berney Needleman; assistant stage managers are Anne Kelly and Emily Lehrer; and the production stage manager is Kristin Weber.
HENRY IV, Part I
March 12 – May 3, 2015
The Antaeus Company
5112 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Tickets: 818-506-1983 or www.antaeus.org