Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2 Henry IV - Pre-Reading Activity


Though it may just be my personal impression, I think 2 Henry IV may be among Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, despite being crucial to the greatest English epic “the Henriad.” Experiences vary, of course. I have seen, by dint of mere proximity, Pericles four times, but before we tackled them in the Will Shakespeare Experience, I didn’t know any of the Henry VI’s at all, except for my “kill all the lawyers” t-shirt, and the Coriolanus I saw this summer in Ashland was my first exposure to it.

I’ll delay until a couple of years from now trying to explain how I found myself teaching fifth-graders Cymbeline (uncut). Anyway, I seem to be host for 2 Henry IV, of which I am ignorant. I don’t mind. I thought we had a great time with Comedy of Errors and Henry VI, but couldn’t find much to converse about with Midsummer Night’s Dream, possibly because we all know it so well. Thus, to give me a start would each of you inventory your exposure to Henry IV, Part 2.

Approximates are fine. Just send a single line, cataloguing how often you have 1) read before this month, 2) taught, 3) seen a performance, 4) seen a film, and 5) acted, directed, or "dramaturged" (strike this ‘verb’ from your memory). If you have anything under #5, you need not include all the nights of the run under #3. Except for BBC, I’m not sure there are films, except The War of the Roses and Welles’s Chimes at Midnight (Cindy, did you see it on stage? If so could we have a performance log?). For instance, my line looks like this:

Gil: 1) 1; 2) 0; 3) 0; 4) 0; 5) 0.

Please do this soon. While I wait, I think I will read Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”


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