“What a piece of work is man!” I know: wrong play, right? In my life lately, I’ve had many experiences that now bring these words from Hamlet to mind. “What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! In apprehension how like a god!”
This is my second time as Henry—once as Prince Hal, in Henry IV part II, and now later in his life as King Henry V. Through much of his story, Hal seems irresponsible, careless, and wholly unworthy of the mantle of the king. Eventually, however, the death of his father, more than any other factor, causes a dramatic turnaround in Hal. He shuns his former company of drunkards and low-lives, takes on the responsibilities of a ruler, and comes to love the people of England more than even his own life.
As we rehearse, I find the King to be…ferocious—something I did not find in the Prince. One of Hal’s major hurdles was his selfish joviality and wasteful idleness. Now we find a noble king, devoted to God and to his subjects, but lacking the confidence and experience to be sure-footed in his leadership. Henry V, for me, is the story of Hal’s growth into a true leader. One who receives council from trusted advisors. One who serves, more than rules, his subjects. Certainly, he’s not a perfect man. But he’s a man who has come to understand who he is, and who his people are and could be. Again, as I see the potential of human beings, I remember the words of Hamlet:
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! In apprehension how like a god!”
About Jason Sullivan:
Jason is excited and grateful to be back with Grassroots this summer--especially to play Henry once again. A graduate of the UVU Theatrical arts program, some of Jason’s favorite acting credits include Hutter in UVU’s “Nosferatu”, Mr. Holloway in UVU’s “Something Wiked This Way Comes” and Petruchio in Grassroots’ “Taming of the Shrew”. In his rare free time, Jason enjoys art, mountain biking, and camping.
***Check out this video featuring Jason Sullivan then come and see our shows! Details at www.grassrootsshakespeare.com and our Facebook Event. ***