This is the first time that A Noise Within (ANW) presents Shakespeare’s historical play HENRY V, and the company’s resident actor Rafael Goldstein is delivering a king that is strong and inspiring. The play is co-directed by Artistic Directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, and it will continue performing on selected dates though April 6, 2018.
HENRY V was written in 1599 telling the story of King Henry V and what happened right before and after the Battle of Agincourt (of 1415). In this play the wild Prince Harry of Shakespeare’s previous plays has grown up and is now a mature king interested in conquering France.
In the past few years, Goldstein has become a shining member of the ANW company. In HENRY V he enjoys a true moment in the spotlight, and he does not disappoint. He is impressive in his delivery of the St. Crispin’s Day speech, just as he is moving in the scene in which the King gives credit to God for the victory. Although humor is scarce in this play, Goldstein’s softer side peeks through towards the end of the story, during his exchange with French Princess Katherine, played by Erika Soto.
Sprinkles of humor in HENRY V come mostly from Kasey Mahaffy, playing the French Dauphin. Mahaffy is great with physical comedy and a great addition in HENRY V. Another favorite addition is Cassandra Marie Murphy, the fantastic vocalist that provides a couple of excellent musical moments while interpreting the original score created by Robert Oriol. (If you saw MAN OF LA MANCHA in ANW’s previous season, you were already amazed by Murphy as Aldonza.) It is also worth mentioning that the music score includes an on stage live percussionist.
This adaptation of HENRY V takes liberties with the text by cutting out or shrinking some scenes. Still, it tells the main points of the story and takes two hours (with an intermission) to do it. You will enjoy its stirring and fun combat scenes, which were fine tuned by three fight choreographers.
The stage is simple, with oversized steps in the back that give the audience a feeling of being at a sports arena, and perhaps even part of the action. That feeling is reinforced when the artists look and speak directly to the crowd, most often as the Chorus, whose lines are shared by several actors rather than just the usual one.
While the play’s color scheme is dark (lots of black and gray tones everywhere), the audience is left with a feeling of awe and excitement. Goldstein is a pleasure to watch, and the adaptation a testament that Shakespeare can always resonate in the modern world when you know how to capture his work’s essence.
ANW is located at 3352 East Foothill Blvd, in Pasadena 91107. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at anoisewithin.org or by calling (626) 356-3100 ext. 1. HENRY V performs in repertory with A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Please visit the website for performance dates.
Photo: HENRY V at A Noise Within (Ensemble) / Credit Craig Schwartz
Shelter from the Storms: Pasadena Bad Weather Shelter open through March 1
Thanks for reading our post on HENRY V at A Noise Within in Pasadena! On another matter, the Pasadena Bad Weather Shelter is open during the current bad weather season, on nights with a forecast of 40 degrees or below and/or 40 percent chance of rain until March 1. During the 2015-2016 winter, the last season with available records, the BWS was open a total of 33 nights. It served a total of 1,941 guests — 1,423 men and 518 women.
To find out if the shelter is open each night, call the BWS Hotline at (888) 915-8111. For all other questions, call(626) 797- 2402.