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LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Berkshire Feature
Experiencing the War of the Roses in Shakespeare & Company's Rose Playhouse In the Making
By Elyse Sommer
The first two parts of the chronicles are not Shakespeare's best and most regularly produced plays. In fact, many think that they are not to be solely his work. Yet, seeing the plays in Lenox is more than a history lesson of the Wars of the Roses and its aftermath, but a chance to experience the first phase of the company's ambitious plan to create an authentic replica of the Rose Playhouse on London's Thames river where Shakespeare's plays were written and performed over 400 years ago.
Modest as the Rose Footprint is -- a platform, a back wall for entrances and exits, seating on bleacher style benches and low folding chairs -- there's something irresistible about being amongst the first to see Shakespeare performed here. The fact that Henry VI Parts One and Two were probably the work of the future king of English drama still in the making, makes them an apt choice to initiate the still evolving new outdoor theater The same applies to the cast which consists of Performance Institute actors still testing their wings.
If this newly christened space is even more bare bones (artistic director Tina Packer's favorite style) than usual and the performances and staging only occasionally rising above student work, you'll want to see at least one of these plays Each is , each directed by Jenna Ware and condensed by her to 90 minutes without intermission.
For plot details, check out the Henry Chronicles covered during CurtainUp' s first season or Lizzie Loveridge's more recent review of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Rose Rage, both linked below.
HenryVI Part One and Part Two will be performed in repertory through August 24th, to be followed by Henry V starring Allyn Burrows at the Founders Theater (to be reviewed!). For performance details check the box office at 413-637-33 or the company's website.
Henry VI parts one and two -- uncut
The Henry VI chronicles condensed as Rose Rage
Shakespeare's Little Instruction Book
6,500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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