Henry IV 2008

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Directed by Mark von Eschen, Set and Lighting Design by Stephen Wade, Costume Design by Beverley Kobelsky

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King Henry IV is planning to go to the Crusades now that civil war has ended in England, but he learns that battles are still erupting and he must stay.  Gallant young Henry Hotspur has taken many Scottish prisoners , but he will not share the ransom with the King.  The King wishes that his son Hal, the Prince of Wales, would show the courage of Hotspur, rather than being a disgrace and associating with the likes of Sir John Falstaff who enjoys life to the fullest but finances his indulgences with thievery and deception.  Ned Poins, a friend of Hal’s knows of a group of travelers on the road that will be easy to rob; Falstaff wants in on the plan and wants the Prince to join as well.  The Prince is reluctant but Poins says he will convince him.  In private, Poins tells Hal that the real plan is to watch Falstaff and his crew do the robbery, then the two of them will rob Falstaff; the real fun, says Poins, will be when Falstaff tells stories of how he fought valiantly to save the booty, but was eventually overpowered by many, many men.  Hotspur is called before the King to share the ransom for his prisoners but refuses and angers the King.  Hotspur wants the King to pay the ransom on his brother-in law Edmund Mortimer who Glendower is holding prisoner in Wales.  Hotspur’s uncle, the Earl of Worcester explains that King Richard II (who Henry IV overthrew) had proclaimed Mortimer the next in line to the throne, and that is why the King does not wnt him in England.  Worcester believes that now the King will see them as enemies, but he has a plan for their protection by helping Mortimer to the throne.  Peto, an associate of Falstaff is at an inn to set up the robbery planned by Poins and Falstaff that goes just as Poins predicted.  Hotspur must not tell his wife Kate (who is also Mortimer’s sister) any details of his plans against the King to protect her, unfortunately she misinterprets his moodiness and thinks it is because of something she has done wrong.  At the Pub, Falstaff’s bravado and lies are exactly as Poins predicted; Falstaff masterly covers his stories and then encourages the Price to improvise a play about how his father the King will chastise him when he returns to court the next day.  The second act begins with the rebels; Hotspur, Worcester, Glendower, and Mortimer, arguing about how they will divide England after the King is defeated.

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