REVIEW — 'Henry IV, Part 2': Verisimilitude to original practices is delightful

July 30, 2014

By Bob Bows,

While we're all familiar with the period staging and costumes employed during the earliest public stage performances of the Shakespearean canon, it's rare that we get to see productions rehearsed according to "original practices."

Yes, there is still some debate over what these practices were, not the least of which is how the practices changed between the time when the plays were first performed at court and when they were first performed in public.Regardless, actors rehearsing with a stage manager (without a director) for just a few days using cue sheets (containing only that actor's lines preceded by a cue line from the previous actor) falls somewhere between a fancy staged reading and a full-blown production.

In CSF's original practices production of Henry IV, Part 2, with many of the actors off book and everyone in self-selected costumes performing against the backdrop of the set from Henry IV, Part 1, we have an engaging continuation of the saga, including Sir John Falstaff's third and final appearance in the canon. The verisimilatude to original practices is delightfully heightened by The Boulder Renaissance Consort performing period songs, incidental segues, and introductory flourishes. 

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NOTE: The Aug. 3 performance of Henry IV, Part 2 is sold out.

Photo: From Henry IV, Part 1. Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado.