Friday, February 17, 2012

PlayMakers mounts royal Shakespearean epic in rotating repertory

PlayMakers Repertory Company will stage a royal coming-of-age epic, combining William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2" and "Henry V" as "The Making of a King," to be performed Jan. 28 through March 4.
The professional theater-in-residence in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will present the "Henry" plays in rotating repertory as well as several special educational events associated with the production.
The plays follow young Prince Hal from his unpromising start in bawdy houses and taverns under the tutelage of the larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff to his rise as one of England's greatest monarchs, King Henry V. The action takes place in palaces and battlefields, from civil war in Britain to battles in the fields of France.
PlayMakers producing artistic director Joseph Haj will co-direct with Mike Donahue, who helmed this season's PRC2 second-stage hit "A Number" and worked with Haj on PlayMakers' "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby." Actor Michael Winters of TV's "Gilmore Girls," last seen at PlayMakers in 2004 as King Lear, will play Falstaff. UNC-TV is co-producing sponsor for the production.
"These plays, with their exploration of war and its costs, remain as current today as when Shakespeare wrote them over 400 years ago," Haj said.
Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The special performance options are:
• Feb. 25 and March 3: back-to-back performances, "Henry IV" at 2 p.m. and "Henry V" at 7:30 p.m. with a dinner break between. Boxed dinners from Whole Foods Market will be available for purchase. Pre-ordering dinner with tickets is recommended.
• Feb. 18 ("Henry V"), 2 p.m.: open captioned performances;
• Feb. 19 ("Henry IV"), Feb. 26 and March 1 ("Henry V"): free post-show discussions with the creative team;
• Feb. 21 ("Henry IV") and 28 ("Henry V"): all-access performances for attendees with special needs, with sign language interpretation and audio description; and,
• March 3 and 4: free post-show "Mindplay" discussions sponsored by the North Carolina Psychoanalytic Society—"Thrice More into the Breach: The Making and Unmaking of Men in Peace and War" with Harold Kudler from the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University.
All performances will be in the Paul Green Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art on Country Club Road. Tickets are still available as part of the theater's 2011-2012 season subscription packages. Individual tickets are $10 to $45. With the purchase of a ticket to either play, a ticket to the other "Henry" may also be purchased at 25 percent off. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts or offers and is not available for Tuesday Community Night performances. A 10 percent discount off single tickets is available for active military personnel. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (919) 962-7529 or visit
The National Endowment for the Arts recognized PlayMakers with a $100,000 "Access to Artistic Excellence Grant" to support "The Making of a King" and "Breaking History: Power, Politics and the Legacy of War," a series of events that will investigate America's legacy of engagements in military conflict.
• Monday, Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m., Paul Green Theatre: "Peace and War in America." In partnership with UNC's curriculum in peace, war and defense, chair Wayne Lee and Haj will lead a panel conversation inspired by "The Making of a King."
• Thursday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m., The Varsity on Franklin: a screening of Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner "Hell and Back Again," as part of the Ackland Film Forum. From his embedded time with U.S. Marine Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist/filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25- year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. Note: Screening rights are pending. Information will be posted at if the film is changed.
• To be announced, Fayetteville. PlayMakers will host a conversation in partnership with The Army's Army (a volunteer organization that supports military personnel and their families) and Cape Fear Regional Theatre, presenting scenes from the plays and discussing the impact of America's current military engagements on soldiers and their families.
A $25,000 grant from the NEA and Arts Midwest's "Shakespeare for a New Generation" program funded additional educational outreach, including sending teaching artists into area schools and matinees of the play for middle and high school students.
PlayMakers' main-stage season finale will be the British comedy "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn (April 4 through 22). The PRC2 second-stage closes with the world premiere of "Penelope," written and performed by Ellen McLaughlin, with live music composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider (April 25-29).
For more information, visit the website.

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