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This item originally appeared in the May 6, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Shakespeare's "Henry IV Part 1" was shown April 26 through May 1 in Howard Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts.

"Henry IV Part 1" shows the passion of a king and the determination and heart of those rebelling against him for land that is rightfully theirs. Along with the history of the play, there is a splash of comedy. The only thing that it is missing is some romance, but everyone needs a break from the tried-and-true woes of star-crossed lovers.

Deanna Chandler, a sophomore applied biology major, said she enjoyed the play.

"I liked the acting, and the actors made me laugh a lot with their facial expressions," Chandler said.

Nicholas Harrison, a graduate student of theatre, played Sir John Falstaff, a fat, lazy knight who spends all of his time eating and drinking when he is not robbing innocent bystanders.

Harrison did a fabulous job as Falstaff. He was a crowd favorite with his jokes and boastful attitude.

Reece Roark's performance as Hotspur, a leader of the rebel army, was not only energetic but also passionate. The emotions Roark, a sophomore basic and career studies major, radiated helped the audience get more involved emotionally with the play.

Roark said he enjoyed playing Hotspur.

"I love playing this character; there was a lot of energy, and it was a very physical part," Roark said.

He also said he enjoyed working with Scott Gilbert, director of the play and an instructor of speech and theatre, on his last production at the university.

Another memorable performer was David Reed, a graduate student of theatre, as Henry, Prince of Wales.

Reed was perfect for the part with his blond hair and his boyish good looks. Reed's acting was stellar.

Chandler said she liked Reed's performance.

"[Reed] had a lot of energy and got you involved in the play," Chandler said.

If the exceptional acting did not engage the audience, the seating arrangements forced them to become a part of the play. The seats were arranged in a circle on stage, also known as "in the round."

Levy Leatherman, a senior history and French double major, said Gilbert and Mark Guinn, who is production manager and works with scenic and lighting design, had talked about doing the production in the round.

"It allows the audience to get an even more intimate view of the play, but it also allows the actors to perform in the round," Leatherman said.

"Acting in the round is very different from proscenium acting, which places the audience directly in front of the stage, so students who want to become professionals are getting the chance to have a much more diverse acting experience."

Another element that added to the play was the lighting.

Without the lighting the audience would not have been able to use their imagination. The lighting forced the crowd to imagine they were in a forest and cued them when it was time for a fighting scene.

Leatherman said the audience response has been positive. He also said the show offers a unique experience because most people rarely see a Shakespeare play.

"[The audience] rarely gets to see a play performed in the round," Leatherman said.

"It offers a lot to people who would otherwise think theater is nothing but 'Cats' or 'West Side Story.'"

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