Monday, January 10, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 1, Scenes 1 & 2


i have NO idea WHAT i was thinking when i made this week's schedule. act 1 is so long and i thought i could read the whole thing today? it was my first day of school and my first day of rehearsal. i must've been temporarily insane. SO i read the first half instead. i will read the second half tomorrow. wednesday and saurday i will gain those pages back. done and done. i decided that if this becomes a chore, i will probably quit. no quitting for me.

back to business:
the play starts with the funeral of Henry V, who we will read more about later on. everyone is extolling his virtues and mourning the loss of their great leader. then the bad news strikes, in the wake of Henry V's death, England is losing much of their hold on France. Charles VII has been crowned king and he is showing no mercy. three messengers appear in all, giving worse and worse news about losses in France. then the worst news of all hits: Lord Talbot (who has been in Orleans, France) has suffered huge losses and been taken prisoner. everyone is pretty ticked off about this, so i'm guessing he's really important. Bedford heads off to get troops ready to fight and get Talbot back. Gloucester and Exeter leave to take care of and prepare the infant Henry VI to be crowned. the bishop of Winchester is left alone and tells us he has plans to overthrow power and become England's leader.
in scene two we move to France. Charles is chillin outside Orleans with his people. they decide to attack since the English no longer have Talbot to hold them together. in 3 lines of stage direction, we learn that they fight the English and are 'beaten back with great loss'. (502) Joan of Arc (a.k.a. Pucelle) shows up on the scene prophecying France's victory. Charles challenges her to a duel to prove her warrior skill and she wins. he basically wants to get with her after that because she is so super awesome. the scene ends with the rally to take back Orleans.

i am pleasantly surprised at the readability of this play so far. yes, there are a lot of characters (maybe part of why i personally have never seen this play done?), but i'm not lost yet. phew! the story is fast-paced and interesting. i actually can't wait to see what happens next. double phew!

Falstaff has appeared!!! he left Orleans in the midst of battle and has been proclaimed a coward. we will see more of him and refer back to this soon.

i would love to know how this Orleans battle is handled. do people stage a battle or do the 3 characters leave for two seconds and then re-enter saying they've lost the battle?

i need to do a little research. i know Shakespeare takes some liberties with history. of course he would have to. what i want to know is, how much is true? if you have some specific knowledge, please share!

also, if you know anyone who might be interested in this project, please recruit! this will be most beneficial to everyone now and in the future if we have people commenting! i loved when susan told us about her production experiencce with Comedy of Errors. i love when Danielle tells us about her experiences in London. i would adore it if people posted further questions and thoughts. spread the word!

quote of the day:
'my courage try to combat, if thou dar'st,
and thou shalt find that i exceed my sex.
resolve on this: thou shalt be fortunate
if thou receive me for thy warlike mate.'
     -joan of arc; act 1, scene 2

for tomorrow: the rest of act 1

-rebecca of shakespeare


  1. It's actually a character named Fastolfe (or spelled differently in different plays) There's a little controversy over the relationship to Falstaff but this is generally believed to be a different character...I don't want to tell you why to spoil your reading of his other plays.

  2. Thank you for that! I had no clue! See, that's why I'm so glad to have my army of readers to help me along the way. Thanks, Tyler!

  3. "...warlike mate" - huh-huh, huh-huh (I feel a little Beavis and Butthead about this.) Cool.

    So, is Joan of Arc the kind of riot grrl you hoped to find?

    I think you are wise to readjust the schedule when necessary to make it easier to manage without giving up entirely out of frustration. (I'm struggling with my own goals and resolutions.) It seems like A LOT happened in this half of the act anyway. These histories must have been like the mini-series of the day.

    Thank you for your appreciation. I will comment on a blog. One of my best friends has four that I follow.

  4. i wish i understod this a little better :(

  5. Rebecca! You said the Q word. That is not in our vocabulary!

    The histores can be very tedious if you over read them. Go for a longer read here and then when you get to some of the easy reads you will make up momentum--like Miidsummer and RandJ will be a breeze.

    Throw a short sonnet in on days when you are so completely swamped you want to scream. Oh, wait, that's every day for awhle.

    JUST KEEP GOING! I am really looking forward to so many of the plays--JC, MacB, Tempest, Much Ado, As You Like It and HAMLET--the quintessential ghost story. You know, you can break it up a bit with some Shakespeare on film analysis too.

  6. andrea, what are you struggling with in particular? how can we help?

    dani, i have the schedule prepared for the entire year. i think when i prepped the schedule i thought this week would be laid back since it's the first week of school. i was wrong. after this week, things will be more manageable.

  7. Whoa so much has happened since three beginning, I must otay more attention... Act half :P sounds cool, I can't wait to read more! Much love -Sean

  8. Andrea, see me in class if there is something you want to discuss. I can happily while away a few hours on the topic.