Saturday, October 8, 2011

Henry V by Shakespeare, The Baron's Men at the Curtain Theatre, September 30 - October 22

Henry V Shakespeare Baron's Men

This Henry V by The Baron's Men is a feast for the eyes. The elaborate Elizabethan wardrobe of the company goes well with the gratifying outdoor setting of the Curtain Theatre, Richard Garriott's lakeside replica in miniature of the Globe. Costume designers Pam Martin and Dawn Allee are current nominees along with Jennifer Davis for Austin's B. Iden Payne stage award for outstanding costume design, for this company's 2010 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. For Henry V they've outdone even that outstanding level of accomplishment.

Brian Martin as Henry V (image: Chris Eckert)Their program notes acknowledge the work and care that went into these recreations -- "the more than a dozen doublets designed and manufactured for this production, as well as several different designs of pants (trunk hose, venetians, and pumpkin hose). These clothes could not have been made without the dedication and love of the troupe members who donated many hours and some very late nights to complete the costuming."

The company establishes and sustains the Elizabethan illusion by placing cast members onstage both before the piece begins and during much of the intermission. Pikesmen station themselves on watch and parade to the beaten command of drums; Henry and his confederates stand at upper center stage studying a huge, meticulously designed map of the kingdoms on both sides of the Channel. At intermission the guard is again mounted, and Pistol sits moodily at the edge of the stage.

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