by William Shakespeare
directed by Alice Stanley & Jane Jongeward
Cohesion Theatre Company
March 9-26, 2017
Henry V is known most for the glory and heroics of the Battle of Agincourt. We think of great rousing speeches, and a victory granted by God against impossible odds.
Violence is only glorified and praised within certain contexts. Within the institutionalized power structures of monarchy, we are ready to be on Henry’s side as he charges forward to gain land at the expense of many lives, whether English or French.
In this production, we sought to strip away the contexts which make the violence in this play acceptable and even heroic. What is left of Henry V, one of Shakespeare’s best-known and most often performed histories, if we take away glory? What double standards in our societal thinking about violence can we expose?
To do this, we set the play in 1882 Tug Valley, converting national to filial pride.
Praise for Henry V
"Under the expert direction of Alice Stanley and Jane Jongeward, the talented cast and creative team move this Shakespeare classic 400 years into the future and into the backwoods of an entirely different continent. There, they examine what the story has to say about leadership, ruthlessness, and war. The result is an engaging production of Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it before."
-DC METRO THEATRE ARTS
"I find that Cohesion Theatre is always ready to push the envelope and find new, different and better ways to do theatre and to celebrate the individual. Cohesion challenges the audience to look at one of the most known historical plays in a different light, and perhaps what we Americans have in our history isn’t so far from Europe’s bloody past."
-MD Theatre Guide
"Cohesion’s Henry V by way of Appalachia isn’t an obvious choice, but it’s a fucking good one. Studied, thoughtful direction gives the show flight, and once it takes off, there’s no stopping it. Laser-targeted performances (especially from the leading man) provide weight while resisting the slightest whiff of a gimmick or a joke. Engaging, specific, interestingly designed and exceptionally acted. I loved it."
-The Bad Oracle
Photos by Shealyn Jae Photography.