David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s HENRY V: Retelling in Prose — Cast of Characters, and Prologue

CAST OF CHARACTERS

On the Side of the English

KING HENRY THE FIFTH (1387-1422).

DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, Brother to the King.

DUKE OF BEDFORD, Brother to the King.

DUKE OF EXETER, Uncle to the King.

DUKE OF YORK, Cousin to the King.

EARL OF SALISBURY.

EARL OF WESTMORELAND, Cousin by marriage to the King, and Brother-in-Law to the Duke of Exeter.

EARL OF WARWICK.

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.

BISHOP OF ELY.

RICHARD, EARL OF CAMBRIDGE, conspirator against King Henry V.

HENRY, LORD SCROOP OF MASHAM, conspirator against King Henry V.

SIR THOMAS GREY OF NORTHUMBERLAND, conspirator against King Henry V.

SIR THOMAS ERPINGHAM, loyal to King Henry V.

GOWER, an English Captain.

FLUELLEN, a Welsh Captain.

MACMORRIS, an Irish Captain.

JAMY, a Scottish Captain.

JOHN BATES, Soldier in KingHenry V’s army.

ALEXANDER COURT, Soldier in KingHenry V’s army.

MICHAEL WILLIAMS, Soldier in KingHenry V’s army.

PISTOL, NYM, BARDOLPH, Soldiers in KingHenry V’s army, and former friends of Prince Hal.

Boy.

A Herald.

On the Side of the French

CHARLES THE SIXTH, King of France.

ISABEL, Queen of France.

LEWIS, the Dauphin.

KATHERINE, Daughter to Charles and Isabel.

ALICE, Lady attending on the Princess Katherine.

DUKES OF BURGUNDY, ORLEANS, and BOURBON.

The CONSTABLE OF FRANCE, the chief military officer of France.

RAMBURES and GRANDPRÉ, French Lords.

MONTJOY, a French Herald.

Governor of Harfleur.

Ambassadors to the King of England.

Other Characters

Hostess of the Boar’s Head Tavern, formerly Mistress Nell Quickly, and now married to Pistol.

Chorus, consisting of one male.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, French and English Soldiers, Citizens, Messengers, and Attendants.

Nota Bene

Scene: England and France.

Time: 1414-1420.

Religion: Catholic. The Protestant Reformation does not start until 1517, when Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” become public. In 1534 the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church because of a dispute over the annulment of the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. Pope Clement VII excommunicated King Henry VIII.

It is a good idea to remember this quotation by L.P. Hartley: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

PROLOGUE

Imagine that the year is 1599, and a single male character takes the stage in a round theater in England. This character is known as the Chorus, and he will introduce the play the way a single male character known as the Prologue would, and he will also appear at the beginnings of Acts 2-5 to comment on the action of the play and the way that he hopes the audience will react to it; he will also appear as the Epilogue at the end of the play.

The Chorus strides onto the stage and says, “I wish that I could be inspired by a Muse of fire. Of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — that people of my time think make up all that exists, fire is the element that rises highest. Anyone who wishes to tell the story that is told in this play must be mightily inspired and capable of the best poetic creation.

“I also wish that this small stage were an entire Kingdom, and I wish that the actors were Princes, and the members of the audience were Kings who would watch this majestic scene!

“If my wishes would become reality, then the warlike Harry — King Henry V of England — would be like himself. He would be like the real Harry as Harry really existed and he would take on himself the bearing of Mars, the Roman god of war. At Harry’s heels would appear famine, swords, and fire — the instruments of war — that would be tied to a single leash held in Harry’s hand. These three instruments of war would crouch like hounds waiting for Harry’s command to go into action.

“But forgive us, all you gentlemen and gentlewomen. We on stage here are not spirits of the great and mighty dead who have been raised out of their graves. We have not been raised from the graves; we are dull and uninspired actors — and a playwright — who have dared to portray great men and great events on this platform that is called a stage. Can this small stage hold the vast battlefields of France? Can we cram within this wooden O — this round theater made out of wood — the actual helmets that frightened the air at Agincourt, where in 1415 King Henry V defeated the French although he and his soldiers were vastly outnumbered?

“Please pardon us for our presumption! A zero is a curved figure of arithmetic. A zero is naught, but if you add it to the weakest position of a number — the far right — it can turn the number 100,000 into the number 1,000,000! We actors are also naught, but while we are on stage acting as great people doing great acts, let us affect your imaginations so that you visualize the scene as it ought to be seen.

“Imagine that within the surroundings of the walls of this theater are now confined two mighty Monarchies — the English and the French Kingdoms — who challenge each other. They have high, soaring, and close-to-each-other fronts that the perilous narrow ocean — the English Channel — keeps apart: The English cliffs of Dover and the French cliffs of Calais challenge each other.

“Use your imaginations to improve on and mend our imperfections. Thousands of soldiers fought in the war; a few actors will ‘fight’ on this stage. Use your imagination to take one ‘fighting’ actor and turn that single actor into a thousand fighting soldiers who fight a huge and dangerous battle in front of you.

“When we actors talk about horses, imagine that you see them stamping on the soil and leaving their hoofprints behind them.

“We need your imaginations to properly equip our Kings, to move them from country to country and battlefield to battlefield, and place to place, and to jump over years so that the events of 1414-1420 can take place on this stage in only a couple of hours that can easily be measured by a two-hour hourglass.

“I, the Chorus, will help you to leap over the years — I will, occasionally, let you know when years have passed.

“But now, let me, like a Prologue, ask you humbly for your humble patience. Please listen to this play with gentle courtesy, for hearing and seeing are both important, and please judge this play with kindness.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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David Bruce: Good Deeds Anecdotes

Franklin Ajaye met fellow comedian Flip Wilson a few times after Flip had retired with a big pile of money. The last time that Franklin saw him, Flip had driven his motorcycle to a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Flip bought breakfast for everybody. Another black comedian who did good deeds was Redd Foxx, star of TV’s Sanford and Son. White comedian Tom Dreesen remembers, “Redd would look all over. If he saw anybody that didn’t have any money and they couldn’t pay their SAG or their AFTRA insurance, he would take them to the show and tell the writers, ‘Write ’em in, put them on the show. Let ’em get one line.’ He’d make sure it was a speaking line. That way, he had to pay different [more] money. Redd did that time and time and time again.” By the way, in the early days of sampling, samples were not paid for — it took a while for people to realize that samples need to be legally cleared. Reynaldo Rey once heard a sample from one of his albums on one of Ice Cube’s albums, so he went to Ice Cube’s trailer — Ice Cube was filming the movie Friday— and said, “Hey, man, you owe me some money. I’m on one of your albums.” Reynaldo said that Ice Cube “laughed and invited me in, paid for it, and put me in the movie. Good dude.” Also by the way, in a conversation about Dave Chappelle, fellow comedian Bob Sumner said that Dave is a hero. In his book Black Comedians on Black Comedy, Darryl Littleton quoted him, “Great guy. I know stories about Dave that’s a lot deeper than just being a comedian. He’s a Good Samaritan. Him and David Edwards saved a little girl from being apprehended on a Washington subway one time. They were hanging out late after a gig one night and they noticed this guy had this girl on the subway and this girl was giving them like, y’know, little things that something wasn’t right. They come to find out she was being kidnapped and Dave [Chappelle] and Dave [Edwards] actually got the girl to break loose, y’know, and then they got the guy.”

Comedian Jack Benny was noted for his professional generosity to other entertainers. Singer Abbe Lane worked with Mr. Benny in a theater-in-the-round, and before the opening they looked at letters on the marquee. Ms. Lane’s contract stated that her name would appear at “100 percent billing” — this refers to the size of the letters on the marquee. However, “The Jack Benny Show” appeared in 100 percent, while “and starring Abbe Lane” appeared in 75 percent. Mr. Benny looked at the marquee and said, “No, no, no, that will never do.” Immediately, Ms. Lane thought that Mr. Benny, who was a huge star (and obviously his name should appear first), was going to insist that her name appear in smaller letters, but he said, “I want this changed. I want it to read ‘The Jack Benny and Abbe Lane Show.’” She did the first half of the show, and Mr. Benny did the second half of the show. In addition to singing, Ms. Lane spoke about shopping at Neiman-Marcus. Mr. Benny also had jokes about Neiman-Marcus, and Ms. Lane told him, “Jack, I just feel awful, because if I make any references to Neiman-Marcus, it’s going to take the edge off what you do.” Mr. Benny replied, “Don’t be silly. I have lots of other things that I could say, so you do it.” Ms. Lane remembered later, “And then he improved on what I had to say. I can’t think of another performer in the world who would do that. It was the most wonderful engagement. I felt that I had finally arrived and was working with the best of the best.”

When Joan Oliver Goldsmith decided to earn an MBA degree at the University of Minnesota, she ran into some major problems trying to understand statistics, and so she went to Professor Norm Chervany and said, “I’m going to need some help.” Then she started crying. She went to the ladies’ restroom and washed her face, and then she came back to Professor Chervany, who, she says, looked more embarrassed than she felt. He told her, “Don’t worry. I’ll work with you ’til you get it. And you will get it.” He tutored her twice, and the night before their third scheduled tutoring session, intellectual lightning hit her, and she suddenly understood the statistical curve. She telephoned him to cancel the tutoring session, and he said, “That’s a bit sooner than I expected, but I knew you’d get it.” By the way, one of Ms. Goldsmith’s friends is named Vern, who used to live upstairs from her. One day, she fell and she could not lift up her head without vomiting. She called Vern for help, and he insisted that she see a doctor, so he called an ambulance to take her to the emergency room. Later, he called her in the emergency room. He told her that he had cleaned up the blood and the vomit, and he offered to take care of her cat if she needed to stay in the hospital.

• Lee Castelani, a Senshido instructor in Montreal, Canada, has a brother who was in a taxi that broke down at a red light. When the light turned green, the driver in the car behind the taxi honked his horn—not aggressively, but as a way to alert the taxi driver that the light had turned green. The taxi driver got out of the taxi and apologized to the driver, who offered to take the taxi driver’s passenger to wherever he was going. (People in Canada are often very, very nice.) He drove the passenger to the passenger’s parents’ house, and he asked, “Hey, do you know Lee?” The driver turned out to be a friend whom Lee had not seen for a while. Lee wrote, “My brother is a pessimist and doesn’t have a very good view of the world. But he was blown away by the generosity of a complete stranger.”

“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.” — Joseph Joubert

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” — Dalai Lama.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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Edgar Lee Masters: Wendell P. Bloyd

THEY first charged me with disorderly conduct,
There being no statute on blasphemy.
Later they locked me up as insane
Where I was beaten to death by a Catholic guard.
My offense was this:
I said God lied to Adam, and destined him
To lead the life of a fool,
Ignorant that there is evil in the world as well as good.
And when Adam outwitted God by eating the apple
And saw through the lie,
God drove him out of Eden to keep him from taking
The fruit of immortal life.
For Christ’s sake, you sensible people,
Here’s what God Himself says about it in the book of Genesis:
“And the Lord God said, behold the man
Is become as one of us” (a little envy, you see),
“To know good and evil” (The all-is-good lie exposed):
“And now lest he put forth his hand and take
Also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever:
Therefore the Lord God sent Him forth from the garden of Eden.”

(The reason I believe God crucified His Own Son
To get out of the wretched tangle is, because it sounds just like Him. )

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Lao-Tzu #73: Being over bold and confident is deadly. The wise use of caution will keep you alive.

73

 

Being over bold and confident is deadly.

The wise use of caution will keep you alive.

 

One is the way to death,

and the other is the way to preserve your life.

Who can understand the workings of Heaven?

 

The Tao of the universe

does not compete, yet wins;

does not speak, yet responds;

does not command, yet is obeyed;

and does act, but is good at directing.

 

The nets of Heaven are wide,

but nothing escapes its grasp.

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Tao Te Ching

By Lao-Tzu

A translation for the public domain by j.h.mcdonald, 1996

www.wright-house.com/religions/taoism/tao-te-ching.html

Aesop: The Eagle and the Arrow

An Eagle was soaring through the air when suddenly it heard the whizz of an Arrow, and felt itself wounded to death. Slowly it uttered down to the earth, with its life-blood pouring out of it. Looking down upon the Arrow with which it had been pierced, it found that the shaft of the Arrow had been feathered with one of its own plumes. ‘Alas!’ it cried, as it died,

‘We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.’

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