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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
"Dancing Henry Five"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0080  Tuesday, 13 January 2004

From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Monday, 12 Jan 2004 15:28:10 -0800
Subject:        "Dancing Henry Five"

Fans of Henry V and of William Walton's score for the 1944 film will be
interested in a new dance/theater production in New York, "Dancing Henry
Five: a Pre-emptive (Postmodern) Strike & Spin," directed,
choreographed, and designed by David Gordon for Danspace.  (At St.
Mark's Church through 1/18.)

The webpage (http://www.danspaceproject.org/ then click on "This
week...") has this description:  "A dance/theater after William
Shakespeare's Henry V using the recorded voices of Laurence Olivier and
Christopher Plummer (among others) speaking sections of the text, with
voice over narration by Valda Setterfield (newly composed to follow a
complicated historical narrative) to the suite of music by William
Walton based on his film score, eight performers will attempt to dance
the characters of the French and English courts (including a new
gestural duet and a duet of wooing) and to stage the sea voyage and the
battle of Agincourt."

An AP feature/review by Claudia La Rocco (at Atlanta
Journal-Constitution,
http://www.ajc.com/living/content/living/ap/ap_story.html/Entertainment/AP.V7052.AP-Dance-Henry-Fiv.html),
describes Setterfield the narrator (she is also Gordon's wife and
collaborator) as center of the performance, "as the rest of the Pick Up
Performance dancers move about her, staggering as drunken royal revelers
or furiously rearranging a line of folding metal chairs in a stark
evocation of a shifting battle line. In Gordon's depiction of the
English court's decision to make war, followed by France's insulting
gift of tennis balls, the dancers toss a large red ball back and forth
as they lope around each other in loose but decorous patterns. Nothing
changes, nothing is accomplished."

BTW when I searched IMDB to confirm the date of the Laurence Olivier
film, I found it formally indexed as "The Chronicle History of King
Henry the Fift with his Battell at Agincourt in France," aka "Henry V"
and "Henry the Fift" in the UK and "Henry the Fifth" in the US.  Curious.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036910/

Al Magary

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