Harry the King is a hero’s journey, a coming-of-age story. Prince Henry, a.k.a. Harry, is a rebellious youth who takes great pleasure in doing everything a young prince shouldn’t: staging pranks, playing hooky, enjoying the company of ne’er-do-wells and thieves. But when called upon to become king and “pay the debt he never promised”, he rises to the occasion, uniting a country, inspiring a nation, and becoming one of England’s greatest military kings.

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger;

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage;

Then lend the eye a terrible aspect.

- Henry V, Act III by William Shakespeare

Harry the King is not a newly discovered folio found tucked away in the thatched roof of the Bard’s country cottage. Paul Hopkins, Repercussion’s Artistic Director, has jumped headlong into the breach, in merging William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts One and Two and Henry V into one dynamic play focussing specifically on the storyline of Henry V. Hopkins has help shouldering the daunting task in the persons of Karen Oberer, former English professor at both Concordia and McGill Universities, and Paul Yachnin, the Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at McGill University.

Hopkins captures the overall appeal of the play in a nutshell. “Harry the King has all the elements of a summer blockbuster. From underdog to hero, there’s plenty of lively camaraderie, barroom brawls and intense battles.” For history buffs and those attuned to Shakespearean nuance, Harry the King also hints at the ambivalence of war, leaving the audience to reflect on the blind fervour that draws people into war, despite themselves.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, when ire rose and the blood boiled against a perceived common threat. Eager young men and women were stirred into action by ideas of honour, glory and nationalistic pride. With five hundred years separating Harry’s war from WWI, and another hundred between then and today, the similarities are still striking. Hopkins expands saying, “How a nation reacts in a time of crisis, the leaders that emerge, the unnerving way that history repeats itself, these are some of the more subtle themes that Harry the King explores”.

Casting the actors and choosing the design team is currently underway and as always, summer crowds can expect an outstanding mix of seasoned and emerging artists. More will be revealed as the “band of brothers” forms. Parc Jeanne-Mance is a brand new location added to the various parks in and around the city. The travelling troupe of troubadours will also tour to Huntingdon for the first time, as well as returning to Grand-Métis, the Laurentians and the Eastern Townships.

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Please consult the calendar for complete details concerning all dates and locations.

Repercussion Theatre
The mission of Repercussion Theatre is to deliver professional, classically based, visually dynamic theatre that is accessible to all, regardless of income, culture, language, age or education. Repercussion brings the performing arts to people in their communities, reaching new audiences and inspiring in them, a lifelong love of theatre. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.parkshakespeare.com