A Modern Version Of Shakespeare's Play, Henry V

1531 words - 6 pages

A Modern Version of Shakespeare's Play, Henry V

The play Henry V, currently being staged at the University of Alberta student theatre, exemplifies an innovative manner of bringing the historic play into the modern era of technology. Set in the form of two multinational corporations: England and France, the play details the metaphoric battle for the market share from the two companies. Set in the current era circa 2002, the props and set for the play incorporate several technological innovations of the twenty first century.

The workers for the corporation mirror the class system of the nobility, clergy and commoners in the play. The members of the clergy and nobility are analogous to the advisors, high-level executives, and members of the board of directors while the King fills the role of the Chief Executive Officer. The commoners and peasants are other employees of the firm such as the clerical staff and other related permissions. Their wardrobe is reflected accordingly the high-level business people wear suits of the finest calibre and the lower level workers wear attire that is considerably less formal. It was in this way that the audience is able to discern the respective classes from each other. This illustration of class distinction was most clearly portrayed in Act four Scene one where Henry changes into less formal wear as he goes down to the lunchroom and begins to converse with the publicists and other commoners that frequent the company's cafeteria. It is here within his masquerade that he learns the morale of the workers and their attitude towards their executives.

The entity of the chorus, which serves as the narrator of the play, still holds true to that function as a camera crew and news reporters represent them. The play opens with a camera crew shooting a news report, and throughout the play the camera crew reappears in the different places almost as if shooting 'on location' for their news network to relate the narration dialogue of the Chorus. This transition in the form of a newscast segment proved to be most effective in Act four, because the reporters were in effect illustrating the battle as 'live footage' that accompanied the news broadcast. The live footage is of the scandalous tactics and new advertising campaign that were about to ensue from the entity known as England. The live footage is projected onto the cyc in the form of moving pictures while a similar scene is staged behind the camera; meanwhile there is narration from the reporter. This proves to be effective because it enlarges and brings into direct focus the advertising campaigns in a manner that is consistent with the culture of the period.

In Act one, Scene two, as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely are having their discussion prior to the King's entrance, the discussion is set in an office, with a view of a city skyline outside their window. The men, both being equivalent to the members of the board are dressed...

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