Where to start…where to start…Let’s start at the beginning.
Before the play, I was incredibly excited. I had no idea what Henry IV was about but knowing it was set in an all women’s prison made me think of Orange Is The New Black, which is a show I love, so I was very excited to see the play. Later, I actually read what Henry IV was about and have to admit, was a bit confused by the summary (too many names) but I got the gist of it. The location of the warehouse was hard to find but luckily I didn’t get too lost. When they brought the “prisoners” in through the front, I got excited, I thought that was a cool idea and very informal (but in this case it worked).
I took my seat and I was F-301 right at the top, all the way at the edge (this would become important later as you already know). The guards locked everyone in, and one again this was a nice touch and got me excited to see the play. Then the play started and I got lost. I do not understand Shakespeare. If I got it to read, I could suffer through it and understand after I have read the passages about twice (and very slowly, if I may add), but to hear them once, quickly, and with an accent, oh boy! I did not understand a word they were saying for a good 15 minutes. While everyone was laughing I was just looking from side to side trying to figure out what was going on. I think I understood about 25% of what was said in the play. Since I knew I wasn’t going to understand a word, I payed more attention to other things such as movements and the actors acting. As I mentioned in class, I found it to be too-much, over-dramatized and the sad parts made me laugh because it was so blatantly over-the-top.
As I mentioned in class, I had one of the weirdest experiences at my life during the play. The actress was right next to me on the steps, less than a foot of distance. It was so odd because it is not expected in a play, but the weirdest part was that she was a stone and pretended I wasn’t there, didn’t even blink. Creepy.
The comedy of the play (from the bits and pieces I could gather) was not bad. I did laugh at some moments. Although there were gimmicky moments such as the bear and the car, and the chair crown, I did laugh for a moment. This was informal and may have worked to make me laugh a bit, it did take away from the play as a whole.
The play was long, and felt longer that the opera. I think the reason was not that there was no intermission but because it was Shakespeare and its difficult to watch something for 2 hours and 15 minutes that you can barely understand.
I’m not sure if I liked the stage (or lack there-of) or not. It did create a sense of intimacy in the atmosphere but at the same time it took away from the experience. In class, everyone was talking about how powerful the Henry IV deathbed scene was and I can’t say that it was because his back was to me during most of it. I didn’t understand a word and I could even see the movements or facial expression so I actually tuned out. The same can be said for the woman crying and running away after being insulted bit. I didn’t see the woman so I had no idea how she was feeling until the end and had no idea what was going on.
But on a more positive note, I thought that the actors did a good job and obviously took there role seriously so shout out to them (although they will most likely never read this response). The person that I thought did the best job was Falstaff because he (she) was very comical in her actions.
All in all, for me is goes: ballet, opera, then play. But, I do like plays and usually would put them higher. The only reason it is lower, as stated before was that is was in the original Shakespearean words so I did not understand it.