Juneau-based Theater in the Rough will sword fight on the Haines stage Saturday with their own take on Shakespeare’s The Life of King Henry V.
The play is presented by the Haines Arts Council. Aaron Elmore is one of the actors as well as a Theater in the Rough founder. One of his favorite parts in the play is when a character he playing, Falstaff, talks about honor.
“Can honor set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honor hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honor? A word. What is in that word “honor”? What is that “honor”? Air. A trim reckoning. Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. ‘Tis insensible, then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore, I’ll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my catechism.”
Falstaff is a former friend of King Henry V who thinks risking one’s life for honor is useless. That monologue is actually from a scene in the play King Henry IV. The Theater in the Rough production uses some scenes from that play as flashbacks in their take on King Henry V.
“Now we didn’t want to let go of the wonderful aspect of [King Henry V’s] personality that he wasn’t such a great guy when he was younger,” Elmore said. “It illuminates the action a little bit if you know that King Henry was not always this great and glorious king. So we decided to do that with flashbacks.”
The flashbacks are one part of Theater in the Rough’s production that’s unique. Another is this.
“There are eight actors on stage playing about 40 characters,” Elmore said.
Elmore, for one, plays Falstaff, another character named Exeter, a Welsh captain, and a French duke.
“I know there’s only eight of us, but if you imagine that there are more of us, there’ll be more,” Elmore said. “If you just imagine that there are kings here, there are going to be kings. The main character, King Henry, is being played by a woman. We’re asking you to accept all of that, and go with it. And fill in all the rough patches, and all the gaps with your imaginations.”
Theater in Rough performs King Henry V in the Chilkat Center Saturday at 7 p.m.