The Moral Fog of War
Director’s notes by Des McAnuff

Is Shakespeare's Henry V a great national hero, winning a just war against an arrogant and numerically superior enemy through a combination of sheer pluck and divine grace? Or is he a cynical manipulator, trampling on human rights in a foreign adventure undertaken solely to consolidate his own power? Is the play that bears his name a celebration of military glory or a bitter condemnation of the brutality of war?

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Feared and Loved
Program notes by Robert Blacker

During the 1590s Shakespeare wrote a series of eight English history plays. The three parts of Henry VI and Richard III were so popular they helped establish his young career. When Shakespeare returned to the series later in the decade, he had matured as a writer and produced three masterpieces: Richard II, Henry IV (in two parts) and Henry V. These plays chronicle events that led up to the earlier quartet - when two branches of the royal family fought for the English crown in a dispute that devastated fifteenth-century England and ended only when Henry Tudor won the throne and brought stability to England.

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April 2014
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