Because of the ambitions of the playwright and the limitations of the Elizabethan stage, an introduction to the play is in order. Enter the one-person Chorus, who calls upon the Muse for help in presenting a play with such lofty subject matter.
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The Chorus dreams of real battlefields and kings to live out the story the actors will tell, but since the stage can hardly transform into the fields of France, an English court, or a battlefield upon which thousands of horses and soldiers fight, the audience is required to exert its greatest imagination and conjure the vastness and splendor the play conveys, and the greatness of its hero—England's ideal king, Henry V. This request to the audience was partly Shakespeare’s answer to the classicists who complained that he took too many liberties with the Elizabethan stage and violated the classical sense of the unities of time and place.
Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars, and at his heels,
Leashed in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all,
The flat unraisèd spirits that hath dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object. Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O pardon, since a crookèd figure may
Attest in little place a million,
And let us, ciphers to this great account,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies
Whose high uprearèd and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder.
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance.
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' th' receiving earth,
For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there, jumping o'er times,
Turning th' accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass; for the which supply,
Admit me chorus to this history;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray
Gently to hear, kindly to judge our play.
ADARA ALSTON (Chorus) is delighted to be back performing with Franklin Stage after her role in Doubt: A Parable as Mrs. Muller. Some of her other credits include Pericles: Prince of Tyre (Goddess Diane) and A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Robin Starveling/Moonshine) with the Ithaca Shakespeare Company, Emmett and Ella: A Doggone Mystery (Louella) with Rachel Lampert's Fitz&Startz Productions, Katrina: A New Musical (Larinda) with Walking on Water Productions, A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Hippolyta) with Cider Mill Playhouse, and Twelve Angry Jurors (Juror Eight) with Elmira Little Theatre. Before theaters were paused for the pandemic, she was scheduled to perform spring/summer of 2020 with Hangar Theatre in Urinetown and with Cherry Arts in Rosa and Blanca.
PATRICIA BUCKLEY & LESLIE NOBLE (Producers) have been the Executive Artistic Directors at the Franklin Stage since 2017 where they have produced and presented productions such as Arthur Miller's The Price, A Walk in the Woods, Doubt, Billy Bishop Goes to War and Possessing Harriet. They have hosted a variety of artists from various disciplines in Chapel Hall such as Annie Lewandowski, Stephan Wolfert and Erin Layton.
TOM BERGIN (Video)started his career recording audio for CBS News, specializing in fast-moving, documentary-style journalism. He has since worked on many documentary features, including An Inconvenient Truth and My Architect, as well as projects for Public Policy Productions and Maysles Films. Tom traveled the world to record Not My Life (human slavery) and A Closer Walk (AIDS). He has recorded all of the behind-the-scenes footage for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s forthcoming In the Heights.
SCOTT HOLDREDGE (Production Support) is excited to be back with FSC this summer. He is currently full-time faculty at SUNY Cortland. His most recent work at SUNY Cortland was Scenic Designer on Lysistrata, Head Over Heels and Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nightime. Scott has also worked for Syracuse Opera, Syracuse University, and Unatego High School theaters as their set/lighting designer and technical director. Scott has worked in NYC, LA, and San Diego in theater, corporate events, theme parks, haunted houses and film.
Franklin Stage Company is a free theater that depends on the generosity of our audience—any amount is appreciated!