The final installation in a tetralogy of monarchical histories, Henry V is the story of the young and mighty King Henry V of England and his efforts to conquer French lands at the bloody Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. Sound like a history lesson?
Walking into Shakespeare’s “Henry V” without having read its synopsis and that of the tetralogy’s earlier plays can be challenging because there is an assumed knowledge that the average audience member likely won’t have. It falls instead to the Chorus – which in director Paul Mullins’ production of “Henry V” at Shakespeare Santa Cruz comes in the form of artistic director Marco Barricelli – to guide us through the play. Barricelli injects the past and distant world of the production with modernity, and reappears throughout the play to fill in blanks, comment on events and otherwise heighten our willingness to suspend disbelief over the spartan but well-used set
For a cautionary tale about youthful haste, it can be easy to forget that the entirety of the action in “Romeo and Juliet” occurs in just 72 hours. In director Shana Cooper’s brilliant new production of “Romeo and Juliet” at Cal Shakes, the lighting that changes from morning to night is just one way in which time, age and haste are always centre stage.
Each year, the San Francisco International Film Festival chooses a director to honor with the Founder’s Directing Award, and this year’s was bestowed upon the great actor-director Kenneth Branagh. With past winners like Clint Eastwood, Akira Kurosawa, Werner Herzog and Mike Leigh, Branagh finds himself in good company. He came to San Francisco this week to accept the award and to participate in a special on-stage event at the Castro Theatre on Friday with a screening of his second film, “Dead Again.”