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'Henry IV, Part Two': England in chaos

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's journey through Shakespeare’s history tetralogy marches on with the second part of "Henry IV" joining the repertory. Once again, the festival’s intimate Thomas Theatre will play host to the political intrigue of early 15th-century England.

The story of "Henry IV, Part Two" begins shortly after the end of the first part, with England in chaos, fear and confusion. Foreign invaders threaten, rebellious nobles plot against the king, and Prince Hal —after proving himself on the battlefield at the end of Part One — returns to the “headstrong riot” of his tavern days. Two fates hang in the balance: that of a nation pulling apart, and that of a young man who must transform his own life before he can heal his battered land.

Director Carl Cofield, in his first production at OSF, speaks in musical metaphors of the tonal contrasts between the two parts of "Henry IV."

“Part Two is quieter and darker. The battles here are internal, like a classic blues song, open and raw. Rather than the big war scenes of Part One, we see the battles over the crown, over relationships and over conscience. To capture that atmosphere in the intimacy of the Thomas Theatre is a gift. It allows the subtler moments to be highlighted.”

Cofield hopes that audiences will feel the modern resonances from this 400-year-old history play. “After watching it, I hope we learn something about our plight. Much like Hal, we are at a crossroads. We, too, must ask ourselves how we as a nation want to govern and how we live in community with each other.”

The cast features Jeffrey King as King Henry IV, Fang and Bullcalf; Daniel José Molina as Prince Hal; G. Valmont Thomas as Sir John Falstaff; Kimberly Scott as Archbishop, Pistol and Mouldy; Tyrone Wilson as Northumberland, Snare and Warwick; Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Poins, Hastings, Collevile and Travers; Robert Vincent Frank as Westmorland and Bardolph; Jeremy Gallardo as Prince John, Francis, Morton and Wart; Lauren Modica as Peto, Silence and Mowbray; Alejandra Escalante as Rumor, Doll Tearsheet, Davy and Clarence; Richard Elmore as Justice Shallow, Lord Bardolph and Drawer; Nemuna Ceesay as Lady Percy, Gower, Gloucester and Shadow; Robin Goodrin Nordli as Lady Northumberland, Lord Chief Justice, Feeble and Harcourt; Michele Mais as Mistress Quickly and Porter; and Yi Shostrom as the Page.

The scenic designer is Adam Rigg, costumes are by Dede M. Ayite, and lighting design is by Alan C. Edwards. The composer and sound designer is Elisheba Ittoop, and dramaturgs are Lydia G. Garcia and Amrita Ramanan. Voice and text director is Rebecca Clark Carey; fight director is U. Jonathan Toppo and Jill Rendall is stage manager.