Monday, March 26, 2018

The Henry Play

If I may, just a moment in time.

I'm not really a critic; that style has never quite suited me. Even my chocolate reviews (which I always stress are my only posts that I even consider reviews) aren't always reviews in the usual sense. I have my own way of approaching content.

For Southwest Shakespeare Company's latest production, Henry IV Part I, I want only to describe a moment, a glimpse, a single something.

That single something is song. This production used music, sometimes sung by just one character and sometimes building into a piece sung by the entire cast. The effect amplified the themes of royalty, duties of leadership, and struggle--and also elevated these themes to become simply the themes of life. Seeing performers on stage, singing as a group, lifted the far-off story of kings and princes from long ago into something tactile and approachable. It's like they were singing the song of life, of generations of people passing from one to the next. Beauty and heartbreak, joy and pain.

I am not overly familiar with the Henry plays. To find, side by side with all of the (mainly Falstaff-centered) comedy of the play, such a tender core brought me, in those moments, to that sort of out-of-body feeling that I seek from plays. That moment when everything seems simultaneously great and small. All of this makes me think of how much (instrumental) music added to Romeo and Juliet earlier this year. SSC has been doing great with music lately, haven't they?

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