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Henry IV

Directed by Benjamin Thorn

April/May 1999 - Armidale Playhouse

By Luigi Pirandello. Translated from the Italian by Benjamin Thorn.


A modified villa in Italy in the period after World War I


Act 1

The Throne Room

Act 2

An Anteroom

Act 3

The Throne Room


I see Pirandello's Henry IV as a key play of and about the twentieth century. Written just after World War I, when all certainties were abolished, it looks at the big issues of the nature of reality, sanity and love. Henry copes with a mad world by being mad. Unlike many Pirandello plays, which have dated badly by being too wedded to their time of writing, Henry IV has a timeless quality and is continually relevant to our modem world.

Superficially it is less radical than the trilogy of the theatre (Six characters in search of an author, Each in his own way, and Tonight we improvise), but it shares many of the concerns about the nature of reality and performance of those plays. However its normality is deceptive since many of Henry's speeches about the nature of madness breach the fourth wall and are direct addresses to the audience. And it is in these speeches that Pirandello manages-to focus in on the essentials of twentieth century angst without being tied to any particular event. World War I and the rise of fascism, which was the context in which he was writing raise the same issues as Iraq and Kosovo today. As Tito Belcredi puts it "The conclusion is that we are the mad ones."


Henry IV:  Michael Sjoholm
Marchioness Matilda Spina: Jane Andersen
Frida, her daughter: Sally Broun
Marquis Charles Di Nolli: Brian Thomas
Baron Tito Belcredi: Peter Marsh
Doctor Dionisio Genoni: Brendan Pascoe

The Pretend Privy Counsellors: Landolf (Lolo): Kris Ford, Harold (Franco): Craig Giblett,
Ordulf (Momo): Andrew Swann, Bertold (Fino): Tim Wilkins, John (The Butler): Wolfgang Meixner


Director: Benjamin Thorn
Set Design: Lenore Crocker
Set Construction/Painting: Gordon Cope, Lenore Crocker, Brad Crook, Kris Ford, Peter Marsh, Jane Parkes, Brendan Pascoe, Benjamin Thorn
Costumes/Props: Esther Walker, Benjamin Thorn, Angus Harker.
Stage Manager: Keletso Magano
Assistant Stage Manager: Daniel Eisenberg
Lighting Operator: Brad Crook
Publicity: Astrid Blake, Brenda Willis
Front of House: Astrid Blake


Stage One School of Drama, UNE Department of Theatre Studies

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