Friday I went to the midnight performance of Henry V, at the Globe theatre. Along the South Bank at 11pm people (young people) were out on the benches, sharing beers and talking, a few half-dancing to the distant songs played from the one late night bar on the waterfront. The play began at five to midnight: I was up high, close to the side of the stage, looking down.
I was struck again how fascinating and complex Henry V is as a play, but I wasn’t stunned by the production. To many English people, the play is Shakespeare’s most jingoistic and patriotic, adapted into film in wartime to encourage us to go on fighting Hitler. Yet there is much going on under the surface, particularly when one remembers the history plays that precede it, and how the characters from Henry IV and even Richard II return in this play to complicate our admiration for hero-king Henry. [Read more…] about Henry V, the Globe Theatre, at Midnight