To celebrate the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival’s 20th season and the 400th anniversary of the Bard of Avon’s death, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is kicking off the summer with a play that was one of the most popular with its audiences.
Performances of “Henry V” will begin at 8 p.m. June 24 through 26, July 1 through 3, and July 8 through 10 in Kingsmen Park on the Thousand Oaks campus of California Lutheran University. The festival grounds open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking and entertainment.
Michael J. Arndt, a founding member of the festival and the company’s artistic director, directs. Ty Mayberry, who debuted at the festival in 2013 as Hamlet, will play King Henry.
The play contains one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines related to war: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers….” Many Kingsmen veterans reunite in this “band of brothers” revival. Marc Silver, who appeared in the first season and many thereafter, plays Pistol. Returning after several years’ absence is octogenarian Robert Nairn in the role of Sir Thomas Erpingham. Other returning Kingsmen favorites are Michael Faulkner, Angela Gulner and Ross Hellwig. John Slade, who directed “Henry V” at the 2004 festival and has played King Lear and other Kingsmen roles, will portray the Archbishop of Canterbury and Charles the Sixth, King of France. Jason Rennie, who was in the first Kingsmen Apprentice Company and performed as the pre-show “fire breather” in the early years, is choreographing several battle sequences employing most of the 35 cast members.
“Henry V” is one of the Bard’s most-produced history plays. It tells the story of the real 15th-century English king, a brutal and heroic monarch. The play’s vast scope moves from religious and political intrigue at the courts of England and France to scenes of delicate romance, ribald comedy and sweeping battle.
This play is the only one of Shakespeare’s histories that features a chorus character who narrates the action, inviting audience members to use their imagination. The Kingsmen production sets the play in the historical period of the real King Henry, but the chorus character will be portrayed as a 21st-century news reporter, presenting the story as if she were narrating a documentary film.
The production will feature a distinctive set by Erik Diaz, period costumes by Howard Schmitt, lighting by Leigh Allen and an original electronic music score by Christopher Hoag.
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theater company of Cal Lutheran. The company also provides apprentice programs for professional and aspiring Shakespearean actors, an educational tour program and summer youth theater camps.
General admission is $20 for adults and free for children under 18. Individual tickets are available at the door only. For lawn box reservations, visit kingsmenshakespeare.org or call 805-493-3014.