Tag Archives: Henry IV


Romeo played by Johnny Depp. Now that I would have liked to see. He has, to be sure, scrupulously avoided playing the gorgeous romantic leads that his looks would have made possible, but in his lost vulnerable Gilbert Grape and Sam (of Benny and Joon) days he would have put more depth, or at least […]

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How did they (dress the ladies) in Henry IV

Mistress Percy, Lady Mortimer, Lady Percy, Doll Tearsheet, Lady Northumberland and Mistress Quickly – These are the female characters who appear in Shakespeare’s history plays Henry IV – parts 1 and 2. Now we know that during Shakespeare’s lifetime all these female roles were taken by young male actors as was the stage tradition of […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry IV – part one

Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, Henry IV has a number of different sources including  Holinshed’s Chronicles, Samuel Daniels’ The civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster and Machiavelli’s The Prince. But in this blog I am going to take a quick look at the idea of crusade and penance. At the very beginning […]

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Shakespeare’s Kings and Handel’s ‘Messiah’

To York Minster on Saturday evening for the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. I last heard it there 19 years ago. It was performed by York Music Society, the oldest such society in the country, founded in 1765. My former English teacher, she who led me up the Mount Everest of King Lear, was in […]

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“Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world”

Over in Boston right now The Actors’ Shakespeare Project theatre company is putting the final touches to its new production of ‘Henry IV’ parts 1 and 2 – watch the trailer above for a taste of what’s to come. To help contextualize the goings-on in these plays for its audience the company has sensibly decided […]

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