The 12th season of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall gets under way with Henry V , running from June 11 to 28. This is part of artistic director Grant Mudge's five-year goal of producing all of Shakespeare's histories, staging at least two a year.
The production is the seventh Richmond Shakespeare show directed by New Yorker James Alexander Bond, who began his association with the company in 2006 with Julius Caesar .
Also returning to Richmond is London-based actor Philip Brown. He previously appeared in the two "prequels," Henry IV, Part One and Part Two . Bond directed Brown in a Kentucky theater's production of Wait Until Dark , and when Mudge called him about Henry IV , Part One two years ago, Brown suddenly came to Bond's mind.
The director explains, "In theater casting, sometimes sounds and voices don't pop into your head until you hear about them in relation to something else."
Mudge recalls how in last summer's production of Henry IV, Part Two , the final scene between King Henry, played by David Bridgewater, and Brown's young Prince Hal reduced a shifting crowd to still attention, with actors not in the scene, ushers and box-office staff edging closer to witness the confrontation.
Brown says that Richmond's notorious summer heat actually amplifies his performance. "The Henrys are such sweaty, grubby, high-octane plays, either in the taverns or on the battlefield, that running around in the heat and humidity really seems to get me in the right frame of mind. Saying that, after the curtain falls, I am always absolutely shattered — but I never notice it during the performance."
The rest of the season's plays include A Midsummer Night's Dream , from July 2 to 12, and then Hamlet , from July 16 to Aug. 2. Agecroft, a Tudor-period manor house, is at 4305 Sulgrave Road in Windsor Farms. Richmond Shakespeare will open its fall season at the new Richmond CenterStage in October.
For more information and tickets, call 232-4000 or visit richmondshakespeare.com.