Henry IV, parts one and two
Henri IV: the Re-Gendered Henry IV Repertory
October 29 - November 22, 2015
The Lab at Convergence
1819 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302
About the Play
In William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, parts 1 & 2, three central themes exist: family, warfare and honor. In traditional productions, audiences are typically encouraged to explore these themes through three central figures: King Henry, Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff. This fall, Brave Spirits will challenge audiences to explore these themes through an almost complete re-gendering of the two plays. This intimate production will leave audience members second guessing their preconceived notions of gender.
In Part One, Queen Henri has a problem — she faces rebellion from the north, from the Countess of Northumberland and her daughter, Hotspur; and in the west the “wild and irregular” Glendower plots her own insurrection. Civil war is on the horizon, and Henri’s tenuous claim to the throne is threatened — but that’s nothing compared to her problems at home. Hallie, Henri’s eldest daughter and heir, is less interested in affairs of state than in carousing around the seedy London neighborhood of Eastcheap with her friend, Jill Falstaff. Part One culminates in an epic battle between the Henri’s forces and the rebels.
In Part Two, military drama takes a backseat to the issues of the family. As Henri nears death, she worries about Hallie’s ability to lead the nation she is leaving behind. Falstaff’s comic exploits in the Gloucester countryside lighten the mood, and the play ends on a bittersweet note as the young Hallie comes into her own as Henri V.
Besides gender-flipping the characters and performing the two plays with a cast of ten women and two men, Brave Spirits has assembled a production and design team that is 80% comprised of female artists.
Cast and Creative
Featuring Nora Achrati, Nicola Collett, Lisa Hill-Corley, Karen Lange, Carl Brandt Long, James T. Majewski, Briana Manente, Amy Davis, Sarah Anne Sillers, Hannah Day Sweet, Jill Tighe and Annette Wasno.
Director: Kevin Finkelstein
Assistant Director: Jacqueline Chenault
Stage Manager: Natalie Nichols
Dramaturg: Mara Ann Sherman
Text Coach: Charlene V. Smith
Fight Director: Megan Behm
Costume Designer: Kat Fleshman
Scenic Charge and Properties Master: Rachael Knoblauch
Lighting Designer: Jason Aufdem-Brinke
Sound Designer: Sarah O’Halloran
Graphic Designer: Jessica Aimone
Production Photography: Claire Kimball
Lobby Artwork by: Lorraine Imwold
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Every actor stands out in their various roles, no matter how big or small. … Manente as Hotspur is a vision in leather who perfectly embodies the role of the hotblooded rebel. From the cadence of her voice to every physical choice she makes, she comes away with the show in the palm of her hand. … 5 stars.
You have to be glad that Brave Spirits Theatre has flung caution to the wind and staged an almost entirely re-gendered two-part Shakespeare history saga. … the project reframes some of the “Henry IV” relationships in an affecting way, and it opens up new imaginative avenues without detracting from the power of Shakespeare’s text.
Henri IV is a vast, sprawling, powerful epic of a play. It ranges from intimate love scenes to political intrigue, battles of swords to battles of wits, comedy and tragedy and honor and cowardice. It takes an ambitious theater troupe to portray 67 characters with a dozen actors, and set a variety of different acting challenges. Brave Spirits has both ambition and the skill to achieve it. … 4.5 stars