Monkeys are smart. Though they haven't created cars or trains or weapon, they are educated through simplicity. They flourish on what they have, and if something doesn't work, they don't give up, but they evolve to overcome it. Like monkeys, Shakespeare had no thesaurus, no dictionary, no laptop and no editor. But when he came to a spot where he was at loss for words, he made up his own words. Through practice, perseverance and certainly trial and error, he created works that will last forever.

I am a 13 year old kid who is trying to read and attend live performances of all 37 Shakespeare plays (plus 3 possible collaborations) in 2 years. This is a record of my experiences.

I am now a 19 year old college freshmen at Northwestern University, pursuing a degree in Theatre. The spark of love for Shakespeare that began this blog has grown into a roaring fire. That fire burns a little bit brighter each day. This is where it all began.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Henry VI, Part 2 at the Blackfriars Playhouse


On April 3rd I saw Henry VI part 2 at the Blackfriars Playhouse, home of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. It's a model of Shakespeare's wintertime theater, when the Globe was too cold. The evaluation of the players will come later, but now I would like to talk about the play house. The chandeliers were cool, kind of like hanging wheels with candles on them. The benches were very quaint (I was actually one of the lucky few to be able to sit on a stool on stage) and had cushions. There was a balcony in the back of the stage, and two very nice rows of balcony seats all around the house-one higher and one lower.

It was an incredible experience because every one in the cast was dressed like they would have been in Shakespeare's day, and there was no director so the players directed themselves. There was a big window in the back that had sunlight streaming in. It made the stage glow and the when the players looked into the light, there desires became apparent. The medieval air made the play really come to its own.

Here is Allison Glenzer as the scheming Duchess Eleanor of Gloucester. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

Stage_empty.jpg (2000×1312)This family tree of English kings is useful for understanding the history plays. (Click to enlarge.)
A Special Thanks To Sarah Enloe Of The ASC (Blackfriars Playhouse), Who Was A Great Help With The Photos


  1. Great post. The production captured the tremendous power of the nobles around the king, amplified by the casting of a woman as Henry VI. The King and Queen barely held on to their authority when they were on stage -- Duke Richard of York was a far more powerful presence, as was Gloucester. They were the twin poles of good and evil; the king and queen but shadows in their sight. Even Margaret projected far more power when she was onstage with Suffok than when she was alone or with the king. The overall effect is a striking contrast with the confident authority radiated by Henry V, and underlines the fragility and almost random nature of royal succession during the Wars of the Roses. A chess game with a highly uncertain outcome, so different than the stately progression of great royal houses that we project back onto history.

  2. Edward,

    The Blackfriar theater sounds quite extraordinary. I look forward to hearing about the play itself. We'll have to find one to go to in DC next time you are down to visit. Looking forward to it.


  3. Edward -- Great blog -- keep it up. What's going to be your next play?

    Take care,