Elements of Staging in Henry IV

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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 th...

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...dialogue with Falstaff immediately before he begins his role as King and she cannot be moving around too much once the play extempore begins. She would be best placed at the right or left side of the stage behind Hal and Falstaff's table. The stage interpretation provided here is one that will sufficiently depict each character as set forth by the previous scenes and will remain consistent with the action that follows. There is flexibility, of course, as to how the actors respond to the audience in things like inflection of voice and volume. A very involved audience that is laughing at the slanderous attacks, for example, would most likely encourage the actors to speak louder with greater inflection of voice at the eligible points of dialogue. In this respect, each performance would involve slight changes that are beyond the realm of the director's influence.

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