The play Henry V, currently being staged at the University of Alberta student theatre, exemplifies an innovative manner of bringing the historic play into the modern era of technology. Set in the form of two multinational corporations: England and France, the play details the metaphoric battle for the market share from the two companies. Set in the current era circa 2002, the props and set for the play incorporate several technological innovations of the twenty first century.
The workers for the corporation mirror the class system of the nobility, clergy and commoners in the play. The members of the clergy and nobility are analogous to the advisors, high-level executives, and members of the board of directors while the King fills the role of the Chief Executive Officer. The commoners and peasants are other employees of the firm such as the clerical staff and other related permissions. Their wardrobe is reflected accordingly the high-level business people wear suits of the finest calibre and the lower level workers wear attire that is considerably less formal. It was in this way that the audience is able to discern the respective classes from each other. This illustration of class distinction was most clearly portrayed in Act four Scene one where Henry changes into less formal wear as he goes down to the lunchroom and begins to converse with the publicists and other commoners that frequent the company's cafeteria. It is here within his masquerade that he learns the morale of the workers and their attitude towards their executives.
The entity of the chorus, which serves as the narrator of the play, still holds true to that function as a camera crew and news reporte...
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...ing something that they had either experienced or had a family member experience. As a result, it caused them to identify with the play. The manner in which this play has been configured such that it is drawing on the predatory and imperialistic tendencies displayed by multinational conglomerates provides a way for today's audience to identify with the plight of the characters and their realm.
Shakespeare, William. Henry V. The Norton Shakespeare Based on the Oxford Edition: Histories. Eds. Greenblatt, Stephen et al. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. 736-793.
Ganz, Arthur. "Henry V In New York". Shakespeare Quarterly 35:4 (1984): 470-471
Speaight, Robert. "Shakespeare in Performance". Shakespeare Quarterly 36:5 (1985): 534-540.
Stokes, Swell. "The Oliviers". Theatre Arts 29:12 (1945): 711-718.
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