Channeling Shakespeare

“Soaring poetry. Ferocious, filthy combat. Heroic patriotism,” are just some of the attributes given to Theatre Simpson’s presentation of their fall production, Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” The cast will perform “Henry V” on Nov. 20-22 in Pote Theatre. The 90-minute show will explore gender, power, forgiveness and viciousness with director Tom Woldt, associate professor of theatre arts, adapting it to make it as timely for today’s society as it was for Shakespeare’s.

An experienced cast is preparing to perform this Shakespearean. The play has been adapted to fit their male and female cast, switching the English characters to female roles and the French characters to male roles. Senior Kyle Bochart will be performing the role of Clarence, one of the adapted roles in the play, and he also serves as a hair and makeup designer and sound engineer for the production.

“I love all the fighting (in the play) and the fact that I get to speak French,” Bochart said.

The play will be performed in promenade-style staging where the audience stands with the cast members as the play goes on around them.

Bochart said he is looking forward to the new style as it allows the cast members to interact with the audience and see their reactions, but transitioning from normal stage plays to promenade style has been a difficult switch.

“I am generally pretty quiet, and it’s hard to judge how loud I should speak when there are audience members two feet from me and then 40 feet from me,” Bochart said. “Again, there’s always something to work on.”

Another senior cast member, Zak Bartels, plays the King of France, commander of the French armies when Henry V goes to the front lines. Bartels said he also looks forward to seeing how the audience members will react to the staging.

“(I look forward to) the incredible fight scenes put together by the amazing Jenn Alton and to have fun putting on the show,” Bartels said.

In the lead role of “Henry V” is junior Tiffany Flory. She has been involved in plays for the past two-and-a-half years with Theatre Simpson and is also enjoying the switch from regular theatre style to promenade as well as the switching up of the gender roles.

“I like the way we’re doing (the play) and have adapted it with gender switching,” Flory said. “It adds a new element to the original Shakespeare text.”

Flory and the rest of the cast encourage all Simpson students and staff to come out to the show at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 and 21 and at 1 p.m. on Nov. 22 in Pote Theatre. The show is free of charge for all Simpson students, faculty and staff.

Since audience members will be a part of the action, comfortable shoes are suggested and bags and purses should be left behind. Limited coat check will be available. Cost is $9 for non-Simpson students and $10 for adults. All students, faculty and staff provided free admission.

“This is an opportunity that the Simpson community doesn’t want to miss,” Flory said. “This play will really take you into the story and you will go on the journey with all of us.”