|King Henry VIII|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 22 April 2005 06:12|
King Henry VIII: Laura Cowie as Anne Bullen and Arthur Bouchier as Henry VIII in Beerbohm Tree's production, 1910.
STAGING KING HENRY VIII
First known as All Is True, this play has an extremely eccentric stage history, not least because its first production resulted in the burning to the ground of the original Globe Theatre on June 29, 1613, as a result of too elaborate staging, with cannons firing wadding that set fire to the theatre's thatched roof. One possible peculiarity of its staging history is that if the production transferred to the surviving indoor theatre of the King's Men at Blackfriars after the burning of the Globe Theatre, it would have been performed in the same historical location where the original divorce trial was held, which provides a major scene of the play using the Queen's actual words in the trial. The same scene appears in Calderón's La Cisma de Inghilterra.
The extravagance of the first production was censured by Sir Henry Wotton: "The King's Players had a new play called All is True, representing some principal pieces of the Reign of Henry 8, which was set forth with many extraordinary Circumstances of Pomp and Majesty, even to the matting of the Stage; the Knights of the Order, with their Georges and Garter, the Guards with their embroidered Coats, and the like: sufficient in truth within a while to make greatness very familiar, if not ridiculous." It appears that the role of Henry VIII was taken by John Lowin (4.1.5), who supposedly passed on details of Shakespeare's direction of the play to the playwright's godson, Sir William Davenant, who revived the play successfully when he secured the rights to it at the Restoration.
Because of Lowin's claim, the play is one of the few with a continuous production history, which has strongly maintained a tradition of historical realism in costume, setting, and acting style. It has always been staged in costumes approximating to Holbein's pictures of Henry's court. This historicism reached a peak in the Victorian period with productions by Charles Kean, Henry Irving, and Beerbohm Tree (the latter's being recorded to make one of the first cinematic costume epics; see 2.2.19). Over the years the dominant part passed from King Henry with Betterton (see 2.2.10), to Queen Katherine with Mrs. Siddons (see 2.2.11, 2.2.12), to Wolsey with Irving and Tree (see 2.2.18; 10.g.1.6, 10.g.1.7). As Queen Katherine Sarah Siddons is held to have excelled her Lady Macbeth in intensity and self-identification with her role, an approach shared by Peggy Ashcroft in Trevor Nunn's production at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1969.
Samuel Johnson considered that the play succeeded "above any other part of Shakespeare's tragedies, and perhaps above any scene in any other poet, tender and pathetic, without gods, or furies, or poisons, or precipices, without the help of romantic circumstances, without improbable sallies of poetical lamentations, and without any throes of tumultuous miseries." However, the play suffered contrasting, ruinous critical censure after James Spedding questioned its authorship in 1850, attributing much of it to John Fletcher, Shakespeare's successor as dramatist to the King's Men, on purely internal not historical grounds, for it was printed as Shakespeare's in the First Folio. The twentieth-century theatre mostly avoided major productions until a series of elaborate revivals (e.g. 6.1.26), epitomized by that of Tyrone Guthrie at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1949. Since then it has been staged more frequently. The version in the BBC television series with Claire Bloom as Queen Katherine (see 1.7.7) was considered the best of all that group by academic Shakespeareans. It has always been seen as appropriate for production concurrently with coronations of English monarchs. HMR
Alexander, Peter. "Conjectural History, or Shakespeare's Henry VIII." Essays and Studies of the English Association, 16 (1930): 85-120.
Alexander, Peter, ed. Henry VIII. London; New York: Mayflower Books and BBC, 1979.
Ball, Robert H. Shakespeare on Silent Film. New York: Theatre Arts, 1968. [see pp. 78-83, 320-22]
Berry, Ralph. "'My learned and well-beloved servant Cranmer': Guthrie's Henry VIII." In Shakespearean Illuminations: Essays in Honor of Marvin Rosenberg, edited by Jay L. Halio and Hugh M. Richmond, 309-16. Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1998.
Boaden, James. Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons. London, 1827.
Booth, Michael R. "Beerbohm Tree's King Henry VIII." Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens 9-10 (1979): 181-201.
Booth, Michael R. Victorian Spectacular Theatre 1850-1910. London, 1981.
Brahms, Caryl. "Henry VIII." In Plays and Players, vol. 10, edited by A. C. Ward, 9. London: Oxford University Press 1958.
Byrne, Muriel St Clare. "A Stratford production: Henry VIII." Shakespeare Survey 3 (1950): 120-9.
Clark, Cumberland. A Study of Shakespeare's "Henry VIII." London: GoldenVista, 1931.
Clarke, Mary. "Henry VIII." In Shakespeare at the Old Vic, vol. 5. London: H. Hamilton, 1958. [no pagination]
Davies, Thomas. "Henry VIII." In Dramatic Miscellanies, vol. 3, 335-436. London,1734.
Downes, John. Roscius Anglicanus. London, 1708.
Foakes, R. A., ed. King Henry VIII. London: Arden, 1964.
Foulkes, Richard. "Herbert Beerbohm Tree's King Henry VIII: Expenditure, Spectacle and Experiment." Theatre Research International 3, no. 1 (1977): 23-32.
Halio, Jay L., ed. King Henry VIII, or All Is True. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Heinemann, Margot. "Political Drama." In The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama, 161-205. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Irving, Henry. Souvenir of Shakespeare's historical play King Henry the Eighth; presented at the Lyceum theatre, 5th January, 1892. London: The Black and White Publishing Company, Ltd, 1892.
Jameson, Anna. "Katherine of Aragon." In Shakespeare's Heroines: Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical, and Historical, 288-309. London: George Newnes, 1897.
Jenkin, H. C. Fleeming. "Mrs. Siddons as Lady Macbeth and Queen Katherine." In Papers on Acting, edited by Brander Matthews, 75-114. New York: Hill and Wang, 1958.
Jorgens, John. "The BBC-TV Shakespeare Series." Shakespeare Quarterly 30 (1979): 411-15.
Kean, Charles. Shakespeare's historical play of King Henry the Eighth, arranged for representation at the Royal Princess's theatre. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1859.
Kermode, Frank. "What is Shakespeare's Henry VIII About?" Durham University Journal 9 (1948): 48-55.
Knight, G. Wilson. "Some Actual Productions: Henry VIII." In Principles of Shakespearean Production, 125-34. London: Faber and Faber, 1936.
Margeson, John, ed. King Henry VIII. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Marker, Frederick J. "From Covent Garden to the Bowery: Kemble and Hamblin Promptbooks for Henry VIII." Theatre Survey 9 (1968): 72-87.
Master, A. J. R. "'[Henry VIII in] East Africa." Shakespeare Survey 7 (1954): 109-10.
Mazer, Cary M. Shakespeare Refashioned: Elizabethan Plays on Edwardian Stages. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980.
McMullan, Gordon, ed. King Henry VIII (All Is True). London: Arden Shakespeare, 2000.
McMullan, Gordon. "'Swimming on bladders': The Dialogics of Reformation in Shakespeare and Fletcher's Henry VIII." In Shakespeare and Carnival: After Bakhtin, Early Modern Literature in History, edited by Ronald Knowles, 211-227. New York: St. Martin's Press; London: Macmillan, 1998.
Merchant, W. Moelwyn. "Kemble's Henry the Eighth; the Trial of Queen Katherine." In Shakespeare and the Artist. London: Oxford University Press, 1959.
Micheli, Linda M. "'Sit by us': Visual Imagery and the Two Queens in Henry VIII." Shakespeare Quarterly 38 (1987): 452-66.
Micheli, Linda M. Henry VIII: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1988.
Ornstein, Robert. "Henry VIII." In A Kingdom for a Stage: the Achievement of Shakespeare's History Plays, 203-20. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.
Richmond, Hugh M. "The Feminism of Shakespeare's Henry VII1." Essays in Literature 6, no. 1 (1979): 11-20.
Richmond, Hugh M. King Henry VIII. Shakespeare In Performance. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994.
Richmond, Hugh M., ed. Henry VIII. Dubuque: W. C. Brown, 1971.
Richmond, Hugh M. "Shakespeare's Last Experiment in Verismo: a Performance Approach to All Is True." Theatre History Studies 13 (1993): 47-62.
Rist, Thomas. "Foregrounds and Silences: Interpreting Henry VIII in Production." Shakespeare Bulletin 19, no. 4 (2001): 5-7.
Rowley, Samuel. When You See Me You Know Me, edited by F. P. Wilson. Oxford: Malone Society, 1952.
Seltzer, Daniel. "The Staging of the Last Plays." In Later Shakespeare, edited by John Russell Brown, 127-63. London: Edward Arnold, 1966.
Shank, Theodore J. "Shakespeare and Nineteenth-Century Realism." Theatre Survey 4 (1963): 59-75.
Shaughnessy, Robert. "'Ragging the Bard': Terence Gray, Shakespeare, and Henry VIII." Theatre Notebook 51 (1997): 92-111.
Smith, Irwin. Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse: Its History and Design. New York: New York University Press, 1964.
Spedding, James. "Who wrote Shakespeare's Henry VIII?" Gentleman's Magazine (August 1850): 115-123.
Sprague, Arthur C. "Henry VIII." In Shakespeare's Histories: Plays for the Stage, 142-60. London: Society for Theatre Research, 1966.
Swayze, Margaret I. "A History of the Literary Criticism and Stage Production of Henry VIII." Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Birmingham, 1973.
Tree, Herbert Beerbohm, [preface]. The Life of King Henry VIII. London: Folio Society [illustrations by Percy Macquoid], 1974. [Reprint of Henry VIII and his Court, London, 1910.]
Tree, Herbert Beerbohm. Thoughts and After-Thoughts. London: Cassell, 1915.
Waith, Eugene M. "King John, Henry VIII, and the Arts of Performing Shakespeare's History Plays." In The Arts of Performance in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Drama: Essays for G. K. Hunter, edited by Murray Biggs, Philip Edwards, Inga-Stina Ewbank, and Eugene M. Waith, 70-83. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991.
Walker, Roy. "Theatre Royal." Twentieth Century 53 (1953): 463-70.
Walker, Roy. "'The whirligig of time': a Review of Recent Productions." Shakespeare Survey 12 (1959): 122-30.
Warren, Roger. "Shakespeare in England, 1983." Shakespeare Quarterly 34 (1983): 451-60.
Webster, Margaret. "Henry VIII." In Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, 126-9, 148-73. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1972.
Wickham, Glynne. "The Dramatic Structure of Shakespeare's King Henry the Eighth: An Essay in Rehabilitation." Proceedings of the British Academy 70 (1984): 149-66.
Williamson, Audrey. "Coronation Fanfare: Henry VIII." In Contemporary Theatre, 1953-56, 1-5. London: Rockliff; New York: Macmillan, 1956.
Ziegler, Georgianna. "Re-Imagining a Renaissance Queen: Catherine of Aragon among the Victorians." In "High and Mighty Queens" of Early Modern England: Realities and Representations, edited by Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney, and Debra Barrett-Graves, 203-22. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian, 2003.
Sarah Siddons as Catherine of Aragon.
|Last Updated on Monday, 19 August 2013 23:14 Read : 4456 times|