Henry V at Reduxion Theatre. Provided photo.
In this Performing Arts Q&A , I speak with Erin Woods, Managing Director of Reduxion Theatre Company in Oklahoma City about their play, Henry V.

What five words would you use to describe Henry V?
Raw. Visceral. Historical. Sexy. Action-y.

Now, using more than five words, what’s it about?
“O, for a muse of fire!” Reduxion Theatre stages this timeless look at the hardships of war and one man’s journey to prove himself a worthy king. Set in the round and ‘in your lap’ with inventive staging and period costumes, this fast-paced adventure is not to be missed! . Henry V focuses on the journey of a young King, who is heroic but profoundly human. He is noble, but can identify with the common men who follow and fight for him. The language of this character has resonated throughout history due to the triumph and hardships of war. Shakespeare captures the spirit of war, the visceral nature of battle, the question of “why we fight” in this play. Henry V is truly one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces.

What are some unique aspects for your version of Henry V?
This show packs a punch…and a board sword…and a battle axe…and more!! This show packs a punch…and a board sword…and a battle axe…and more!! This show is combat heavy and the audience is very close. It is a special challenge to present the full battle-scenes in such an intimate setting. Safety is our number one priority (for our audience and our performers), but the show is so “in your lap” it necessitates that director Tyler Woods and combat choreographer Matthew Ellis rehearse how to deliver the thrill of being smack in the middle of a full-tilt live battle without any danger. I believe this style of thrilling intimate staging is the first of its kind to be performed in central Oklahoma.

What was the biggest challenge with this production?
The biggest challenge was setting the combat safely for all involved. As this kind of intimate combat is the first of its kind, we took special care of the safety of the audience and actors.

Why should one see it?
Reduxion has never presented a play by William Shakespeare in period dress. This is a departure for us; a challenge that we love! Henry V is in the category of Shakespeare’s plays called “The Histories.” We wished to explore that in the staging. Reduxion is known for immersion and accessibility: for Henry V we take it to the next level. We not only draw audiences into the play, but into the time period as well. Also, We have many surprises. We have very innovative staging for the combat scenes (see action-oriented below). I don’t want to give too much away: we have moments of, shall we say, “intimacy” and an actor takes a live bath on stage. Even by our standards, we push the envelope.

What scenes do the actors enjoy?
Many enjoy the combat. My personal favorite is the love-story scenes of the play, involving the Princess of France.

Anything else you want people to know?
Audiences will be closer than ever to live sword play. It is like being (safely) inside an epic battle. If that weren’t enough, Henry V also includes a pretty heart-pumping love story. The play really has it all. It’s the original summer block-buster. Order tickets at reduxiontheatre.com/tickets

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at DennisSpielman.com