Shakespeare & Co to host marathon Henry VI.six celebration

Always surprising, the Henry VI marathon will explore Shakespeare in depth. Seen here in a 2014 production directed by Jonathan Epstein is Henry IV parts I and II. Photo by Kevin Sprague.

Always surprising, the Henry VI marathon will explore Shakespeare in depth. Seen here in a 2014 production directed by Jonathan Epstein is Henry IV parts I and II. Photo by Kevin Sprague.

Shakespeare & Company will present a day-long marathon of work derived from and inspired by the vast, rich tapestry of Shakespeare’s Henry VI playsThrough staged readings and movement pieces the Company explores the wars, struggle and influence of Henry VI, including a love triangle, a popular uprising, plotting and deceit. The one-day event takes place on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 on stages and in studios of Shakespeare & Company’s Lenox campus, and includes some free sessions in addition to the six-part reading series.

Shakespeare’s razor-sharp account of England’s War of the Roses, which also inspired the hit cable series Game of Thrones, drives toward the thrilling conclusion of one of his greatest cycles. Company members including Kristin Wold, Peter Andersen, Jonathan Croy, Gwendolyn Schwinkle, and others use performance, movement, and discussion to delve into a thorough exploration Shakespeare’s Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3. With pieces that examine themes of gender, violence, religion, power, and politics, performers connect Shakespeare’s plays with our own modern political drama.

“Shakespeare’s Henry VI is some of the best Shakespeare text you’ve never heard — except ‘first thing we do let’s kill all the lawyers,’ people quote that line a lot,” says Henry VI.six curator Jenna Ware. “These three plays are politics at their worst. With a weak leader, people are driven by an incessant need for power, control and revenge, and in all that struggle there are individual people trying to do what’s right, trying to do their best. It’s easy to see how this time period spawned the character of Richard III – in these plays we get to see the ‘winter of our discontent’.”

The six-part reading series begins at 12:00pm, and sessions continue through 10:00pm. General admission tickets and festival passes are available online at www.shakespeare.org, or by calling Shakespeare & Company at (413) 637-3353 during box office hours. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts.

The August 23 schedule of free and ticketed events is as follows:

11:00am“Brown Bag” Discussion of Henry VI Stories, Playhouse Tent (FREE)

12:00pm, Part One: Tygre’s Heart/A Pair of Molehills, Tina Packer Playhouse

1:30pmPart Two: Pre Show Exploration (Riotous Youth)/The Maid, Rose Footprint

2:45pmA Moving Experience: local artist Audrey Pugh’s sound and movement piece is performed to portions of the audio recording of Henry VI part 2, Shakespeare Garden (FREE)

3:15pmPart Three: The Red and the White/Jack Cade’s Rebellion (Excerpt #1), Rose Footprint

4:45pm, Part Four: Jack Cade’s Rebellion (Excerpt #2)/Queen Meg, Tina Packer Playhouse

7:30pm, Part Five: Jack Cade’s Rebellion (Excerpt #3)/Worse Than Wolves, Tina Packer Playhouse

8:30pm, Part Six: Jack Cade’s Rebellion (Excerpt #4)/The Boys of York, Tina Packer Playhouse

10:15pmPost-Show Cabaret: Henry VI (abridged but not backwards), Tina Packer Playhouse Lobby and Tent (FREE)

More information about the Henry VI.six festival is available online at www.shakespeare.org.

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