Honor, Politics, & Falstaff in Shakespeare’s “1 Henry IV”

You know, we were five days in. We got to
see the full arc with everything that we were building together and, man, it’s
an enormous piece. They call it a “history play,” which to me means tragedy, comedy, and information. What I love about the history plays is the way that they speak to our times. Because they are making us examine what we want in our leaders. I think Hal finds in Falstaff a kind of father that he doesn’t find in his own father. Falstaff clearly wants to get rewarded or at least get some Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free cards from Hal when he becomes King. And I think Hal wants to figure out, or learns from the reprobate, what life is really like outside the courts. It’s a bro-mance, right? They know that that can’t last forever.
But not yet. Not to end the party yet. The personal is completely wrapped up
with the political. Shakespeare gives each character a different definition of honor. Honor being that personal thing that we feel. Whether it is based on a political
relationship that I have with somebody or a personal relationship. It’s a concept. It’s not an actual, tangible thing. But people die for it. And that’s ridiculous. I think what Shakespeare is talking about, to me, the upside of it is, really about living a life of integrity. This play is visceral. It is down and
dirty. Well, this play I think is particularly
suited for the Folger…for the architecture of the space because it’s
big enough to let all the life that is in the play grow and breathe and
reverberate, but it’s small enough so that, as an audience member, you still
feel like you’re a part of it. You’re going to have something to latch onto. You’re going to have something to go home with. It’s thrilling to perform and thrilling to watch.
It’s a ride…

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