My Theatre

29 July 2020

Corona Cold Reads: Henry IV, Part 2

By // Theatre

These are crazy times and we’ve all taken on a bunch of new projects as we socially isolate in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

We’re donating where we can, we’re cleaning the pantry, we’re organizing the 2300+ title dvd library. We finished work on the Nominee Interview Series even though the live event for our yearly Critics’ Pick Awards had to be cancelled (we’ve still got trophies to give out, eventually). We started the Corona Movie Club to help curb our boredom and constant need to talk about movies with other human beings. I’m even watching network procedurals and actually writing about them.

But what we all really need is comfort. We need our favourite things and our favourite people and right now those are hard to come by so we have to do everything we can to bring them together whenever possible. For me, there’s nothing quite so comforting and joyful as Shakespeare. Luckily, I know a lot of people who also love Shakespeare- a few old friends from my alma mater’s Shakespeare Society and a few of my favourite Toronto theatre artists, all of whom just so happen to be talented and generous and responsibly socially isolated enough to want to join a Zoom call for the purposes of livestreaming Shakespeare on YouTube.

A quick note about this episode in particular
Choosing not to break our Henriad schedule of 8 history plays in 4 weeks through the month of May, our reading of Henry IV, Part 2 fell on May 9, 2020, which happened to be my birthday. I explain the whole thing in the introduction to the podcast version of this reading but essentially what we did was gather 89 of my friends on one Zoom call- Shakespeare lovers and skeptics and experts and novices alike- and divvy up the roles between them. There were 8 Falstaffs. It was madness. But a lovely kind of madness. I think the text of the play is still remarkably clear though the voices (and acting quality) may change more than you’re used to. All our regular cast members are present and carrying over the roles they played in Henry IV, Part 1 and/or will be playing in Henry V, they’re just joined by a few dozen special guests. Because the cast list is too large to list here, I announce each new cast member on the recording at the time of their first entrance. It’s ok if you lose track, the point was just to have some fun in hard times with a pretty silly play.

Check out Henry IV, Part 2 in audio form below (or on iTunes) then tune into our YouTube page on Saturday and Tuesday nights at 7pm EST to catch our live readings.

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