Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bruce Miller on "Henry IV, Part 1"

It was a delight to see Bruce at the show on Sunday night, though I didn't get to chat. What a delightful surprise to read his post on Barksdale's blog Monday morning!

Here's an excerpt:

Word on the street is that Henry IV, Part 1 may be Richmond Shakespeare Theatre’s best effort to date. I know plenty of theatre lovers who would fight for their own favorite, but it's good to see that this new entry is so clearly joined in the competition.

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen enough RST productions to assert which one may or may not be the best of all. But I can say this. Henry IV offers pleasures to spare, and if other productions have been better, then they must have been pretty sensational.

I love seeing theatre at Agecroft. I loved Henry IV, Part 1.

Thanks, Bruce.

The sterling reviews are all very nice, and all the patting is certainly helping my back spasms. But the houses are still pretty small for this very special show. Of course, most of the people reading this silly blog have already seen the show, or are, you know, in it.

I also want to put in a few words here in acknowledgement of Henry's Master of Play, James Alexander Bond, and Master of Verse, Joanne Zipay. These are two fantastic artists, and their work on this show has been nothing short of amazing. This play has a lot of strong characters elbowing each other for your attention, and we certainly have a double handful of big acting personalities playing them. It takes a deft hand and a clear vision to mold such strong performances into a focused story. Much of the best directing (and design, and, frankly, acting), in my experience becomes transparent in the process of getting the story across. The direction of Henry IV, Part 1 is like that.

Here's what's exciting: this is just the beginning. The Richard II production process has already begun, and we've got some very exciting plans for the rest of the History Cycle.


  • At 7/24/2007 10:53 AM , Anonymous Jacquie O. said...

    I agree with you 100% Andrew. I can't speak for all the members of the cast, but I thought James Bond's direction was insightful. He really focused on the words and was able to be very specific about what he wanted punched while clearly expressing what he thought was important and why. Now we all might not have agreed with him ALL of the time, but that was another wonderful aspect about working with James...he really listened to what you had to say and let you play. I also learned a tremendous amount from Joann. They were both a great team! I also think it’s important to mention that they are both genuinely nice people. That is the other really wonderful thing about this cast…many pure hearts. In it for the right reasons and willing to share their knowledge with those of us who are new (me, me, me.) I especially have to thank Bob, Jack and Phil for their feedback and support during the process. Sometimes you get to be a part of a wonderful product, but the people are not so great to work with and then there is the rare show when it all comes together. A great product and a loving and supportive cast. I feel so blessed that this is our little show!

  • At 7/24/2007 12:28 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    I didn't get to see much of the process for Henry IV, but I worked very intensely with James last year on Julius Caesar. My memory of that process is that that I can't quite recall which of the show's ideas were his and which were the cast's. As a result, we really had ownership of everything we were doing. This current production looks that way to me as well.

  • At 7/24/2007 1:03 PM , Anonymous Jacquie O. said...

    Yes, everyone came to the table with their own ideas (some came in off book or almost off book). He had lots of good stuff to work with from the start...and then, all came together. Wasn't quite sure we were going to block it all before tech week...but somehow we made it! I only wish we had been allotted more time with Drew. But then i have yet to be in a production that was OVER rehearsed...does that happen in real life?

  • At 7/25/2007 9:43 AM , Anonymous Jacquie O. said...

    Well the Style review is out. And my costume got a rave! At this point I have heard everything from I LOVE it to...yeah, I had a hard time taking you seriously because I couldn't get past the boobs. I may never know how people felt about my performance(s) (I do play ANOTHER role)…but I know for sure that my costume will go down in history! AMEN!

  • At 7/25/2007 10:06 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Personally, I love your performance as Captain Winter Blunt, but it pales in comparison to Mistress Quickly. She's just so earnest and adorable in her honest stupidity.

  • At 7/25/2007 4:15 PM , Anonymous Jacquie O. said...

    Thanks Andrew! I like MQ as well. I feel like Daryl and I took a huge leap forward in our second week and now we are just having fun! I really enjoy my scene with JR in Act II as Blunt (and of course my grand entrance music that you play)...but you are right, MQ is such a pee!

    See you tomorrow!

  • At 7/25/2007 10:41 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Someone couldn't take you seriously because of boobs, Jacquie? How absurd. I take boobs VERY seriously! In fact, I LOVE serious boobs! (Who wants silly boobs? I mean REALLY! Then you'd be no better than Tara Reid!)

  • At 7/26/2007 8:11 AM , Anonymous Jacquie O. said...

    Yes, thankfully it was not a friend of mine. Some comments are just useless and mean to say to another actor. All they do is cause unnecessary doubt.

  • At 7/26/2007 1:05 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Yeah, Tara Reid's boobs are just ridiculous.


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