The production began and ended with a Latin hymn to the glory of God, moving into a choric introductory chorus spoken by the entire cast, then to the closing introductory lines spoken by the character Chorus. The ending was similarly staged. Behind both opening and closing choric statements a stage picture commented on the action, the closing picture freezing Henry and Katharine with hands trying but not quite managing to touch. Much of the apologetic quality of Chorus’ speeches was cut, particularly that regarding the portrayal of Agincourt. The battle… needed no apology. A few clashes of swords preceded an impressive march of darkly-costumed, dimly-lighted soldiers, their spears thudding in tempo on the stage floor as they marched. The crescendo of pounding spears climaxed in an explosion of white light spotted on the torn and bloody bodies of the English boys… Two square wooden structures of considerable height were rolled about the stage to represent various scenes… Henry emerged from this production a genuine and untarnished hero. Canterbury spoke Henrys praises with disdain, but to his own detriment, not to Henry’s. (Robin B. Carey, Shakespeare Quarterly 24 : 438–40)
KeywordsConsummate Politician English Army French Court Street Clothes Henry Versus
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.