Act I of this roughly two-hour two-act play focuses on Hal's friendship with the merry and good-hearted sometime-thief Sir John Falstaff. Prince Hal continually brushes off his father, who is facing several threats to his crown and wants his heir to step up and fight. Hal eventually does, essentially choosing his father over Falstaff. In Act II, his journey to the throne continues as he leaves Falstaff and his old life further and further behind, ready to take the crown from his ailing father. Even though the two plays are condensed from their original combined length of probably 5-6 hours, it doesn't feel rushed or choppy. It still feels like a full and complete story, with moments of reflection, and includes some of Shakespeare's most famous lines such as "weary lies the head that wears the crown" and "the better part of valor is discretion."
|Falstaff (Gary Briggle), Prince Hal|
(James Napoleon Stone), and King Henry IV
(Bruce Bohne, photo courtesy of Coup D'Etat)
Rogue Prince is staged in the basement theater at Calvary Baptist Church in the Whittier neighborhood of South Minneapolis. The space has a stage at one end, and this production utilizes both the stage and the floor in front of it, with a single row of chairs forming the other three sides of the square performance space. The King and his court are always on stage, elevated and apart from the common people, while the scenes in pubs and other common locations are played out right in front of us, almost close enough to touch. Including some cool sword-fighting scenes (choreographed by Adam Scarpello). The cast is dressed in medieval period appropriate tunics, capes, and gowns (costume design by Chelsea Wren Hanvy).
Rogue Prince: Henry IV, Parts I and II continues through October 26. Click here for more info and tickets.