HENRY V (Lantern): Grumpy Professor Review

lantern-henry-v-grumpy-reviewHENRY V, a wonderful Shakespeare play, is being presented by the Lantern Theater until the end of April . Charles McMahon usually does very exacting directing, but he is also known in Philadelphia theater circles as a very frugal producer who strictly limits his use of actors. To the unschooled or those unfamiliar with this play, this production is very confusing. Were they English soldiers or were they French soldiers? Identifying characters all during the play was the problem. Sometimes it was helpful that the French soldiers wore Fleur de Lis on their costumes, but there should have been far more identifying costumes. Also I think that theater should be an illusion. Having actors exercise around the stage before the show and out-in-the-open costume changes spoils the illusion. Mr. McMahon should loosen his purse strings. In his Romeo and Juliet each of the actors had to play three parts, to the audience’s confusion. How could Juliet’s maid also be Romeo’s father? Two of the players in this play were not Equity members. The director should have used more apprentices. March 14 to April 21, 2013. lanterntheater.org.

Read a less grumpy Phindie review of Lantern’s HENRY V.

3 Replies to “HENRY V (Lantern): Grumpy Professor Review”
  1. The English soldiers wore red. The French soldiers wore blue. Not that difficult.

    How can Juliet’s maid be Romeo’s father? With a change of costumes and suspension of disbelief. I was part of this audience that you said was confused. I got it. (And I’m sorry, which show are you reviewing here?)

    Perhaps a look at arts funding in this city will help you realize how hard it is to loosen purse strings if one hopes to continue producing theater.

  2. Actually, more than two actors were non-equity, and that’s not unusual.
    I’m not sure what your point is in concerns with equity contracts? More equity contracts means a better show? Not always. The Lantern used 4 equity contracts out of the total 8 ensemble members. That’s a great ratio. More interns? To… what? Stand around and waste precious space on that intimate stage?
    English red.
    French blue, dude.
    For an English Prof., you seem to lack necessary imagination.

    – A bewildered Theater Professor.

  3. Dear John T. D’Allesandro,

    You and I have much in common. We both earned a Ph.D. in English. We both taught in schools and universities and became professors of English. We both live in the Philadelphia area and we both write theatre reviews.

    I like your willingness to stick your neck out and share what you think, even though at times I ask myself where you’re coming from. Just one example: “Theater should be an illusion. Having actors exercise around the stage before the show and out-in-the-open costume changes spoils the illusion.”

    Says who? Try the Globe Theatre in London with its outstanding Shakespeare productions, half of which follow the Elizabethan tradition of all female roles being played by male actors. To help the audience get used to a different mode of presenting theatre, we experience a gliding start where one can see the actors undergo the transformation from male to female, drawing people from around the world into the world of Shakespeare’s time (whether the playwright was the man from Stratford or the Earl of Oxford).

    The opposite of your assertion is the case. We are not becoming consumers of an illusion. Rather, we become part of a transformative process which draws us closer into the production, John, treat yourself to a trip to London and globe around the Globe for a while. You might see things differently.

    Best from you colleague,

    Henrik Eger, Ph.D.
    Retired professor of English
    and editor of http://www.DramaAroundTheGlobe.com

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