This week we start some actor blogs from the cast of Henry V, which will open at the end of this month!
Hey folks! It’s Arielle Leverett here to share my experiences in Henry V so far. In this production I play an English boy, the French Princess’ maiden Alice, along with various English lords and soldiers. Now I have played young men before (Octavius Caesar was my quintessential little know-it-all emperor to be) so that part is not a big deal to me. The big road block be me is the fact that both the boy and Alice have scenes in French. Folks, I don’t know French. I studied Japanese for four years and quite frankly that doesn’t help.
The most terrifying thing about this was I actually had to do a cold reading, speaking French, for the audition. I’m pretty sure this was torture for everyone in the room. So a large part of my initial rehearsal process was learning how to say my lines. Luckily Katherine Mayberry, executive director and fellow cast member, is a French guru and she made a CD of my lines so I could listen to how it sounds everyday. The French is going well now. I have to say I really enjoy tricking people into thinking I know languages than I really don’t and thanks to Henry V I’m adding French to that list (boo ya!).
Aside from the sexy French I’m learning, I’m really enjoying my characters. The boy and Alice both engage in comic scenes which are a needed relief for this heavy war play. The boy is really interesting. He was originally Falstaff’s servant boy but when he dies the Boy has no choice but to go off to the war with Pistol, Nym, and Bardolf, the spunky ragamuffin trio that the boy can’t stand. I love how smart and morally sound the boy is despite his poor upbringing. I think living on the streets of London has made him resourceful. Also, being around losers like the trio has shown him the exact kind of person he doesn’t want to grow up to be. Plus I think it’s funny when the kid is the smartest one of the bunch.
My other larger role, Alice, is pretty great as well. First of all I’m happy I get to play a woman in the show, especially one who is apparently going to resemble a hot librarian. I love the dynamic between Alice and Princess Katherine. Sarah Stark (Katherine) and I have decided to make the two characters close like sisters. Of course Alice is older and worldlier which is why she knows some English. Though Katherine is Alice’s superior they have a relationship where their roles can be reversed. I decided Alice is pretty sassy and sometimes she has to catch herself when she gets snippy to people like King Henry. Anyway, this play is really fun and going very well so far. So go see Henry V so you can be smacked in the face with Shakespeare awesomeness (oh yeah, it happens). See you in August!