Letter: ‘Henry IV’ captures audience’s fancy
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Were it true that two wrongs make a right, Jeffrey Borak’s Aug. 16 review of Shakespeare & Company’s "Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2" would be golden. Alas and alack, however, both the story and the production, far from missing the mark as Mr. Borak claims, captured the fancy of audiences in 1598 and the one including my husband and me on Aug. 13 in 2014.
Unlike Mr. Borak, we experienced no "flat emotional plane" but acting that brought to life several of Shakespeare’s most interesting characters: Prince Hal (the 16th century embodiment of Niccolo Machiavelli’s Prince), John Falstaff, considered by generations of theater-goers to be the most popular of Shakespeare’s characters, and Hotspur, the first of Shakespeare’s elaborate character studies (to name three).
Leading the roster of actors exhibiting "maturity, depth and authenticity" to quote Mr. Borak was Jonathan Epstein in an endearing performance as Henry IV, statesman and father. Juxtaposed with him is Malcolm Ingram portraying the riotous, bawdy, and quite unhistorical pseudo father, Sir John Falstaff. From the influence of both of these men emerges the ruthlessly efficient ruler, Henry V, in a brilliant performance by Henry Clarke.
The "most unsettling issue" in this review are Mr. Borak’s remarks about the young actors. They are a handsome group. Their contributions brought energy, spontaneity and zest to this production. It was the fun, frolic and naughtiness in "Henry IV" that made it the most popular play in Elizabethan times motivating Shakespeare to quickly write the sequel, "Henry IV Part 2."
Thank you Jonathan Epstein for adapting this complex, fascinating play and providing Shakespeare lovers with an unforgettable evening.
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