The Tribune (NZ) - - WELCOME ALONG -

Henry V presided over the English vic­tory at Agin­court. Shake­speare’s play about the bat­tle is on in the Dark Room this week.

600 years ago on Oc­to­ber 25, 1415, English and French armies fought a decisive bat­tle at Agin­court in France. The French army en­joyed a five to one su­pe­ri­or­ity, but English King Henry V got to choose the bat­tle­field. The boggy ground and the English long­bow un­did the heav­ily armoured French knights.

The bat­tle is re­vis­ited by Shake­speare in his play Henry V. Di­rec­tor Si­mon Herbert has been fas­ci­nated by Agin­court since be­com­ing ac­quainted with the story as a boy dur­ing a guided tour of Eng­land’s War­wick Castle.

‘‘They had a long­bow­man de­mon­strat­ing shoot­ing, and he told us all about the Bat­tle of Agin­court. It grabbed my imag­i­na­tion and I’ve wanted to di­rect Henry V ever since,’’ Si­mon says.

‘‘And Henry V is one of my favourite Shake­spear­ian plays. It’s not as well-known, but it’s got some of the best speeches and finest po­etry Shake­speare wrote.’’

An in­trigu­ing as­pect of Henry V is the dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives it takes on war. The Cho­rus, a role that Si­mon plays, de­crees war to be be noble and pa­tri­otic, but down on the bat­tle­field, the com­mon soldier has quite a dif­fer­ent view. The king too has pri­vate doubts about what he is do­ing.

Henry is played by 18-year-old Rohan Hunter, with an ensem­ble of nine ac­tors shar­ing the play’s 35 other roles.

The Iris Theatre Com­pany pro­duc­tion takes place in the The Dark Room this week from Oc­to­ber 15 – 18 at 7.30pm, with a Satur­day mati­nee at 2pm.

Tick­ets are $15 with $10 con­ces­sion. Book­ings are through Cen­tre­point Theatre and on-line thedark­roomnz.com


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