A Special Orem Public Library Performance of HENRY 5–FREE!

by Anne Flinders, dramaturgBYU's HENRY 5, 2013

BYU’s Young Company cast and crew is bringing a free performance of Henry 5 to the Orem Public Library (58 N State St, Orem). This special performance is a tradition that Young Company has shared with the library for several years, bringing excellent children’s theatre to the Orem community.

John Valdez in BYU's Young Company production of HENRY 5.

John Valdez in BYU’s Young Company production of HENRY 5.

The performance will be on Monday, April 15th at 7:00 pm in the storytelling wing of the library; the performance lasts about 50 minutes. It is open to the public and free of charge. The company will present the same production they have taken on the road over the past semester as part of their tour to elementary schools across the Wasatch Front.

One exciting and fun element of children’s theatre with Young Company is the invitation extended by cast members to some of the children in the audience to join the cast onstage. One of our cast members, Sarah Flinders (Canterbury/Boy/French King), was introduced to Shakespeare onstage as a little girl during a BYU Young Company production at the Orem library. She and  her sisters were invited to perform alongside the actors in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so technically her role in this production is not her first with the Young Company players! Children in the audience can again hope to be invited to share the stage with the cast in this production of Henry 5, just as Sarah did years ago.

The cast of BYU's Young Company production of HENRY 5

The cast of BYU’s Young Company production of HENRY 5

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“O, for a muse of fire!” Henry 5 Act I, Prologue

by Anne Flinders, dramaturg

The Young Company opened its production of Henry 5 last week, both on tour and in the Nelke Theatre. Preparing for this play required each cast member to explore and develop characters that are diverse in age, gender, and experience. We asked the cast what has been a source of inspiration for them in preparing for their roles in Henry 5? Is there something particular that encapsulates a source of inspiration for the performances you give in the play? In other words: What or who is your “muse”?

Sarah Flinders plays the Boy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the King of France. To find inspiration in forming these characters she said she looked to literature for a little bit of help. “I tried to find characters in books I loved as a child who were similar to the people in the play. Not to say that I copy these characters. However, I take the idea of the motivations that my own characters have and try to find ways to incorporate the characteristics of that character ‘type.’”

Playing Nym, Lord Scroop, and Bates, Camilla Hodgson looked to her cast members to help prepare for her performance. “I am inspired by all the hard work that each member of our team has put into the creation this show. It has been a long process, and I am excited to show everyone our final product!”

The cast of BYU's Young Company production of Shakespeare's "HENRY 5".

The cast of BYU’s Young Company production of William Shakespeare’s HENRY 5.

Kristen Leinbach, who plays, Sir Thomas Grey, Mistress Quickly, and Montjoy the herald said, “My biggest inspiration has been working together as a cast and becoming our own ‘band of brothers’.  As our character relationships grew, so did our friendships. We have worked together to build one another up and provide each other with confidence and strength.  This play has become a reflection of the cast and crew coming together as a band of brothers.”

Henry 5 is currently playing to sell-out audiences in the Nelke Experimental Theatre at BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center through February 16th. Tickets are still available the remaining performances.

“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” Henry 5 Act 4, Scene 3

By Anne Flinders, dramaturg

January 27th through February 2nd was final dress rehearsal week for Brigham Young University’s production of Henry 5. Last Tuesday was what is called a designers’ rehearsal, when the designers come to watch the play and make notes for their final tweaks and preparations for opening night. The costume, sound, and prop designers were in attendance and will make sure in the next few days that their work is ready to accompany the cast into performances, which begin February 5th on tour and February 6th in the Nelke Theatre. Lighting will be added when the production moves from its rehearsal space to the Nelke.

John Valdez in BYU's Young Company production of HENRY 5.

John Valdez in BYU’s Young Company production of HENRY 5.

Unique to this particular designers’ rehearsal was that a class of sixth grade students from Wasatch Elementary also joined in as an audience for the play. This allowed the cast to rehearse their interactions and engagement with students, just as they will be doing in actual performances. Following the rehearsal/performance, director Megan Sanborn Jones asked the students to give the cast and crew some feedback about their experience with the play. From their comments it was clear that some of the favorite elements of this play for them were the rock music, the dancing, and the “serious Ninja skills”.

Thursday was a full dress rehearsal, with costumes and makeup added. The inclusion of these elements added a new dimension to the performances the actors were able to create, informing and enhancing their choices, and giving greater definition to the multiple characters each actor portrays.

Saturday was a complete run-through with a workshop rehearsal as well as another full dress. A few of BYU’s theatre students were invited to attend, as well as faculty members, who brought their children to the rehearsal to once again give the cast members an opportunity to practice interacting with students. The cast practiced leading children in playing the games and guiding the discussions which constitute the workshops that will precede the school tour performances.

BYU’s Young Company production of Henry 5 begins touring elementary schools on February 5th. The play opens in the Nelke Theatre at BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center on February 6th and runs through February 16th. Tickets are on sale now.

“Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep.” Henry 5 Act 4, Scene 1

by Anne Flinders, dramaturg

Henry 5 Rehearsal. L to R: Kristen Leinbach as Montjoy and Mackenzie Larsen as King Henry V.

Rehearsal, Henry 5 . L to R: Kristen Leinbach as Montjoy and Mackenzie Larsen as King Henry V.

Last week the Henry 5 cast held three more rehearsals. Rehearsal days are exhausting; a typical rehearsal for this play begins at 8:00 a.m. with a physical warm-up and an overview of the day’s work.  This is followed by dance and fight choreography, blocking more of the stage action, and some scene polishing. The cast is generally allowed a half-hour break for lunch, after which they return to the rehearsal space to run and polish scenes until 2:00 p.m.

Rehearsal, Henry 5. Matthew Fife as Fluellen.

Rehearsal, Henry 5. Matthew Fife as Fluellen.

Six hours is a long rehearsal for a student, particularly when many in the cast go to classes immediately after, but this week’s Thursday rehearsal was especially challenging. The cast arrived at 7:00 a.m. and learned new choreography for some segments of the opening and closing dance numbers. They blocked and choreographed another fight sequence for one of the historic battle scenes, after which they ran the entire play. Following the run-through, the cast was trained by the hair and make-up designers. As Henry 5 will be a touring show, the cast members need to be able to do their own hair and make-up on the road.   After an hour break, the cast returned in costume and make-up to meet with a photographer for a publicity photo shoot. (Great action-packed shots were taken which will be released soon.) Following the photo shoot, a camera crew arrived and a video shoot was taped that will be released as advertisement for the play. The shoot wrapped at 6:00 p.m, ending a successful day of rehearsal for this hard-working cast.

Rehearsal, Henry 5. L to R: Sarah Flinders as the Boy and Mackenzie Larsen as King Henry V.

Rehearsal, Henry 5. L to R: Sarah Flinders as the Boy and Mackenzie Larsen as King Henry V.

This marathon Thursday was followed by an extra rehearsal that was called on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. The cast was joined by two BYU Young Company alumni, Sarah Kron (The Hundred Dresses, 2011) and Jenna Hawkins (The Merchant of Venice, 2012), who trained them in how to run workshops for the elementary students who the play will be performed for. The cast chose games and activities to enrich the experience the children will have with this Shakespeare play. After a brief break, the cast worked for an hour on polishing transitions between scenes, dances, and battles. Then the play was given another full run with props incorporated.

The last week of January will also mark the last week of rehearsals for the cast of Henry 5. The show opens its elementary school tour on the 5th of February, and the play opens in the Nelke Theatre at BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center on February 6th at 7:00 p.m. The show runs through February 16th. Tickets are on sale now.