2020 VIRTUAL Season: September—December
Role-Switching and Rugged Depth in ‘Henry V’
Frequent Milwaukee theater talent Matt Daniels not only directs Door Shakespeare’s Henry V but also serves as the chorus. Conducting the action passionately as director and presenter, Daniels’ presence conjures a backstage atmosphere onstage of William Shakespeare’s narration-heavy history. Nearly every actor onstage performs both sides in an ancient conflict between France and England. Kim Instenes’ costume design manages the strange fusion between atmospheric style and clever versatility that allows the garb to shift from red to blue and back again as action shifts from England to France as the well-tuned cast engages in multiple roles.
Nowhere is the switch of roles more impressive than in Elyse Edelman, playing both the aggressive French Prince who agitates the young king of England and the fiercely righteous French Princess who weds him when the fog of war has cleared. Allie Babich crafts a charming figure as the princess’ lady-in-waiting who teaches her English. Babich also manages depth in a couple of impressive opposing personalities and accents as both the French herald Montjoy and the Irish officer General Macmorris. Eric Schabla cuts a suitably regal figure as the title character, who enters war with France with cautious respect. It’s not an easy thing to carry off the traditional Shakespearian hero and make him seem anything other than a valiant cardboard cutout of heroism. Schabla gives the hero a rugged depth, anchoring the center of the drama big enough to feel epic and intimate enough to capture the individual tolls of war.
Through Aug. 24 at Door County’s Björklunden Lodge. For tickets, call 920-839-1500 or click here.