Elements Of Staging In Henry Iv

2004 words - 8 pages

Elements of Staging in Hentry IV  

 

The elements of staging in Shakespeare's Hentry IV, Part 1 are critically important to the action, theme, and quality of the performance. Elements such as costume, blocking, casting, and even the physical attributes of the stage are, of course, important considerations in the production of a play. But other, less apparent factors contribute to the success of the production as well. For instance, an underlying theme(rebellion, in the case of Henry IV, Part 1) must be, whenever possible, incorporated into the scene. Also the number and complexity of props must also be considered with regard to the financial success of the production. These elements as well as others, such as delivery and movement, must be addressed and accounted for effectively. All of these factors will be considered in this analysis of staging for Henry IV, Part 1, act II, scene iv, lines 394- 476. Since this scene transpires in a tavern it is necessary to maintain the simulacrum while still leaving room on stage for the 'play extempore'. To do this efficaciously it would be wise to keep the props to a minimum so that nothing is in competition with Hal and Falstaff for the true audiences attention, as well as for financial considerations. To create the appearance of a tavern one simply needs four tables, each accompanied by three or four chairs; at least ten or eleven are necessary for this scene. One of these chairs will later serve as a prop for Hal and Falstaff when they use it as a throne. Three of the tables should be approximately four or five feet in diameter and one table slightly larger, perhaps six feet in diameter. This will be the table at which Hal and Falstaff converse in the beginning of the scene. The size of this table will accentuate the action by drawing the audience's attention to it. The only other props that are necessary are drinking mugs and a tray on which they are served by Francis. The two doors at the rear of the stage will both be used. One will be used as the entrance to the tavern and the other will function as an entrance to the other rooms of the tavern. Using the second door as a passage to another room eliminates the need to have any sort of bar on stage; the drinks can come from the 'other room', thereby eliminating the need to move a bar on and off the stage. The three small tables will be placed at the rear of the stage about seven feet apart and four or five feet from it and on the left or right side of the stage. The result of this arrangement is a simple scene that will readily suffice as a tavern and in addition provides an undistracted acting space for Hal and Falstaff. In this play costuming and casting offer a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on theme and to illustrate the disposition of each character and his relation to the others. The Prince's costume is to reflect his nobility, though unpolished. Hal would be best portrayed as a young, handsome, well-spoken prince...

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