A Deadly Bat­tle of Wills

The Advance of Bucks County - - BUSINESS -

When King Henry VIII de­cided to rid him­self of a bar­ren wife and wed an­other who might give him an heir to the throne, one good man - with an un­re­lent­ing con­science – stood in the King’s way: Sir Thomas More.

This bat­tle of wills be­tween the English King and More is at the cen­ter of Robert Bolt’s ac­claimed his­tor­i­cal drama, “A Man for All Sea­sons” enMoy­ing a three- week­end re­vival by the Ac­tors’ NET of Bucks County. NET Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Ch­eryl Doyle of Morrisville di­rects pop­u­lar area ac­tor Ge­orge Hart­pence as Sir Thomas More, who was once one of Henry’s clos­est friends.

A com­plex fig­ure (a lawyer who nearly be­came a monk, then later mar­ried and en­tered pol­i­tics), More served in Par­lia­ment, rose to promi­nence; gained the King’s friend­ship and be­came Lord Chan­cel­lor of Eng­land. He op­posed King Henry VIII when the King reMected the Catholic Church to ob­tain a di­vorce and re­mar­riage. Ul­ti­mately, More was put in the Tower of Lon­don, charged with trea­son, tried and faced with ex­e­cu­tion if he did not pub­licly con­sent to the King’s mar­riage.

James Ba­nar of Yardley plays the piv­otal role of Henry VIII, but Bolt’s drama goes be­yond the clash with More to also fo­cus on the cor­rup­tion within the King’s Court. Jack Bathke of Rob­binsville, N.J., plays Thomas Cromwell, the un­scrupu­lous King’s aide who plots to bring down More and ad­vance his own ca­reer. Hugh Bar­ton of Yardley por­trays the Duke of Nor­folk, a More friend who is forced to pre­side over his friend’s trial. David Swartz of Ambler is Car­di­nal Wolsey, the Lord Chan­cel­lor who fails to gain the Pope’s con­sent for Henry’s di­vorce and re­mar­riage.

Carol Thomp­son (Hart­pence’s real wife) plays Lady Alice More, Sir Thomas’ wife. Maryal­ice Ru­bins-Topoleski of Langhorne por­trays their daugh­ter and More’s clos­est con­fi­dante, Mar­garet, who both loves and chal­lenges her fa­ther.

David Ne­w­house of Harrisburg dons mul­ti­ple roles – from innkeeper to Mailer to ex­e­cu­tioner -- as “The Com­mon Man,” in­ter­act­ing with the char­ac­ters and shar­ing his observations and in­sights with the au­di­ence. Round­ing out the cast are Marco New­ton of Yardley as Span­ish am­bas­sador Sig­nor Cha­puys; Den­nis McGuire of Le­vit­town as the am­bas­sador’s as­sis­tant; John Helmke of Hamil­ton, N.J., as Wil­liam Roper, Mar­garet More’s fi­ancé and later hus­band; Mark Swift of Hamil­ton, N.J., as Richard Rich, a friend who is asked to be­tray his men­tor; and Jon Wolodzko of Yardley as Thomas Cran­mer, the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury who helped the King defy Rome.

A Man for All Sea­sons per­forms Oct. 26 to Nov. 11 at the Her­itage Cen­ter, 635 N. Del­morr Av­enue (Route 32), Morrisville – near the Cal­houn Street Bridge. Show times are )ri­days and Satur­days at 8 p.m. and Sun­days at 2 p.m. Tick­ets are $20 for adults, $17 for se­niors 62 and up and $10 for chil­dren age 12 and un­der. The NET has rated this pro­duc­tion PG. )or reser­va­tions, call the non­profit Ac­tors’ NET at 215-295-3694 3694 or email ac­torsnet@aol.com. On-line tick­ets can be pur­chased via www.brown­pa­pertick­ets.com.

Ge­orge Hart­pence as Lord Chan­cel­lor More.

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