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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Shakespearean drama packs adventure into its prose

By Sara Lin
Advertiser Staff Writer

Jeremy Pippin stars as Prince Hal, whose days of debauchery come to an end, in "Henry IV, Part I," premiering tonight at Paliku Theatre as part of the Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival.

Brad Goda

'Henry IV, Part I'

8 p.m. today, Thursday, Aug. 2; 4 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 3

Directed by R. Kevin Doyle

Part of the 2003 Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival

Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

$16 general, $14 seniors and military, $8 students; $36 for season tickets for all three plays

235-7433, etickethawaii.com

Other plays in the series:

"Macbeth": 8 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday; directed by Tony Pisculli

"Twelfth Night": 8 p.m. Aug. 1, 8 and 9; 4 p.m. Aug. 2 and 10; directed by Harry Wong III

The stakes are higher, but for the most part, Shakespeare's Prince Hal, the focal character in "Henry IV, Part I," is going through something almost everyone can relate to.

Coming of age.

At 21, Prince Hal has already spent plenty of time hanging around thieves and drunks and not enough time thinking about a job — such as succeeding his father to become King Henry V of England. When the country erupts in civil war, the prince duels the formidable Hotspur, who has raised arms against the king.

Often regarded as one of Shakespeare's historical plays, director R. Kevin Doyle says, "Henry IV" is more than it appears on the surface.

"I think of it as an adventure," Doyle said. "You've got a kid who everybody thinks is going to fail, who has to fight against the greatest soldier of his time to become king."

"Henry IV, Part I" opens at Windward Community' College's Paliku Theatre today as part of the 2003 Hawai'i Shakespeare Festival. "Henry IV" hasn't been performed on O'ahu for at least 30 years, if ever, according to Doyle, who teaches theater at the Mid-Pacific Institute.

For Jeremy Pippin, who plays Prince Hal, it has been challenging to bring his character from a drunken louse in the first scene to a mature, noble soldier near the end of the play.

In "Henry IV," actors emulate a fighting style seen in Chinese opera, in choreography by Nicholas Logue. "Not the kind of stuff you would expect to find in England and Wales," said Pippin. Another highlight is the chemistry between Prince Hal and his hedonistic friend, Falstaff, played by Aitofele Steele.

"I think theater is having a difficult time competing with film, which can offer the big explosions and special effects," said Pippin. "What people forget is that in the theater, there is a human connection that you cannot make with a screen. When it's done right, there's a tension in the air. I don't know what it is, but you can feel it."