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NOV 9-15, 2016
This time, Henry V is set in the Vietnam War, and all the king’s men carry M-16s instead of swords and wear GI helmets instead of armor. “When you’re doing cultural mashups like this you want to look for the threads that tie them together,” Bolda says. “When I was looking at the Battle of Agincourt, the thing that stuck out for me was the French knights being buried in the mud. In this case they equate with the Vietnamese, and of course Vietnam was a French colony at one time.” That said, the play as written is a bit dense with period references to the Hundred Years War. So Bolda says, “We’ve trimmed a lot of the politics and retained a core of familiarity.” Another connection, Bolda says, is that “in the very beginning there are some political and religious figures saying, ‘We’ll trick them into going into war, to distract the people from these other issues.’ Pretty sure you could draw some parallels there.” Bolda opted to make the Chorus character representive of a Vietnam war correspondent, played by Savannah Shakes regular Travis Spangenberg. There’s even a parallel with humble draftees. Henry, his identity concealed, walks through camp on the eve of battle and hears his men complain they are just
From left: Marshall Frey; Kevin Santana; Na Swana Moon all also star in Savannah Shakes’ Henry V. Photos by megan jones
fodder for royal adventures. “We were looking for a tagline to help promote the show. And we decided that ‘The King is but a man’ is the truest line for this,” Bolda says. “Henry is actually the one who says it, when he’s making his case to the draftees.” “Henry is very genuine in his desire to do right by God and by his subjects,” says Burke. “When he’s making these big speeches, there are usually good reasons for them.” Burke says the Vietnam setting has informed some of his characterization of King Henry.
“Some scenes might feel different in England in the cold. We were doing one scene and I had this idea it would be really freezing out. But then I realized, hey, we’re in the jungle with bugs! So I started slapping away mosquitoes instead.” Fittingly, the show opens on Veteran’s Day, and Bolda says Vietnam vets get in free and there are military discounts throughout the run. “We used the expertise of some veterans in putting together the look and feel of the show, including my father, who served in Vietnam,” says Bolda.
“Ironically, there’s a character named Westmoreland in the play, and of course in Vietnam there was actually a Gen. William Westmoreland. He visited my dad’s unit one time... Dad says he was a real jerk,” she laughs. cs
Where: Muse Arts Warehouse, 703 Louisville Rd. When: Nov. 11, 12, 18 & 19 at 8 p.m., Nov. 13 & 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $15 general admission, $10 for seniors, students and active military; free for Vietnam War Veterans