Wednesday, November 17, 2010
“There lives not three good men, unhanged in England. And one of them is fat and grows old."
You and me both Jack, you and me both.
Y'know I enjoyed "Henry the Foutth Part II" down at the Midway Studio last weekend, I really did. I think you have to see both parts in quick succesion to realize just how deeply in denial Falstaff really is with regards to his "friend" Prince Hal's intentions. And that is how Robert Walsh plays Falstaff, childish and given to the sad belief that the good times can just roll on despite all obstacles....That nothing bad is about to happen regardless of all the countless portents and warnings.
I don't know what it is about Robert Walsh but when they pad him up as Falstaff he gives off a faint dissolute air of Kris Kristofferson...Mind you thats a good thing in my books.
My only complaint about the second part of the play is that from my vantage point I couldn't see the look on Walsh's face when Bill Barclay's King Henry the Fifth lowered the boom on him. But by all indications from the rear, to the last Falstaff just didn't get it.
The Phoenix came down hard on Bill Barclay's Prince Hal, calling him"sinister" at one point. Quite frankly though, to an American audience unschooled in British dynastic politics, Hal's plan to repudiate his low born friends to seem all the more resplendent a monarch comes off as perfectly malevolent.
Orson Welles opined that neither Hal nor his father are nice people as we understand them. Henry the Fourth is a coup-plotter and an epic self justifier, his son a brutal opportunistic power hungry man.
"Realists" of the worst and most modern type said Welles, no wonder the late director saw these plays as more akin to tragedy than anything else.
To an American aud, Henry the Fourth isn't about the rise of a Glorious Young Ruler, it is the story of a cruel manipulative young man, less King Arthur and much more Sammy Glick.
Whenever that comes thru, I count it a good production.
But anyway there are still some performances left do go see them.