On the 25th November 2009 our drama group saw the play Henry V, in the North Wall professional theatre in Summertown, Oxford. The play was directed by Lucy Maycock. It was a whole school production (but incidently did not contain any members of the shell year). The genre of the piece was Contemporary Shakespeare which was (it was (set) in Afghanistan). The set was very intricate and contained many hidden meanings, on the floor of the stage the was a H, this could of signified helipad (modern), it also could of signified Henry, or most likely home, because France was rightfully his and so it was his home.
There was also a sloping wall, this was the main thing on the stage, it had bullet holes in its textured outside these are both modern, as the textured cover made for the look of a Taliban looking fortress, there were turrets on the top which brought made the wall look old. The wall was often the main obstacle in fighting scenes, it was a barrier between armies, the no man’s land, and sometimes seemed as if it was what the armies where fighting not each other but the wall, sometimes soldiers screamed and kicked at the wall, it becomes a wall of death and some of the soldiers for this reason seemed scared of it at times. At other times, the wall is positive, for the maidens of Harfleurs it is their escape with their sheets tied together. The wall is also used in a positive way when deciding the fate of Harfleur, the mayor of Harfleur and Harry discuss the terms on how the siege would be carried out, until the mayor surrenders.
The Lights were very cleverly used in the play, one of the most effective methods in which they used the lights was where they used red, they often would use red to signify danger of death/blood spilling. The way the lights were positioned made the wall look red in scenes of war, the doorways in the wall glowed more red than the wall itself, and to me looked like doorways to hell, because the battle was sometimes behind the wall and when they went through the doorways it was as if they were going into hell.
In one scene there was a gas attack, in the scene a green light covered the stage, smoke was also projected onto the stage so the light picked up the smoke, on the stalls near the front you could taste and smell the smoke, the ‘gas’ effected the audience as well, the green light signified gas but also nature and tranquility because the gas attack was located in a jungle. Strobe lighting was used very effectively the main scene with strobe lighting was a field of gun battle, the strobe lighting signified machine guns and bombs in the night, the scene was in slow motion and was accompanied by a cello piece (often associated with death or sad moments), the strobes highlighted the different reactions of the actors, in the night.
During the play Harry was constantly spotlighted more than other actors, even when other lights shone bright, or when he was undercover, this showed his importance in play, in his St. Crispin day speech when praying to god he looked up to the spotlight, this showed the heavens opening and him speaking directly to god. In moments of anger the lights were dimmed and the lower lights used this cast shadows.
The costumes of each side were very different from each other; the English wore modern military uniform with stab vests and helmets included, whereas the French wore old cavalry uniform in some scenes, whereas in other scenes they wear turbans along with their cavalry uniform, and wield the ‘trademark’ rocket propelled grenade(rpg) Mistress Quickly wore a corset and neon-goth miniskirt, this showed that she was outgoing, sexy, lively and somewhat of a rebel.
Harry red tracksuits at the beginning of the play showing he is young and laidback, then as the play matures, he and his dress sends does too, he then wears, basic military uniform, without his hat (showing his high status), then he wears full military with vest and after that he wears his white jacket which is too large for him, this lets us know that he is somewhat of an amateur lover and doesn’t know what to do, because is he military born and has spent his life based around military practice, even when trying to woo Katherine he kicks the wall to show his frustration, just as he did earlier on in the play when showing his frustration to his men.