Adapted from Shakespeare’s HENRY V
New Feet Productions
In 2005, the US was fighting two different wars. Like so many people, I was angry and distraught. How did we get into this situation? Why does war perennially seem like a solution?
My questions drew me to HENRY V, a play that has famously been read as both pro and anti-war. It contains multitudes. It is, as James Shapiro observes, a “going-to-war play,” with all the contradictions that implies.
I approached the adaptation with several goals: I wanted to investigate the role of the media in the stories we tell ourselves about war right now. I wanted to make both sides of the pro/anti-war argument compelling and let the audience come to their own conclusions. I wanted to see how few people I needed in order to tell the story.
INTO THE HAZARD (HENRY 5) tells the story of a very young but promising leader who discovers the challenges and expedience of war as a tool for consolidating his hold on power. With only six actors, there are no truly public events in the play. Rather, every negotiation is a back room deal, exposing the realpolitik of how decisions get made. The media, represented through a variety of videos, provides the public face of those decisions, while revealing our limited attention span for serious engagement with difficult issues.
INTO THE HAZARD took my work in an unexpected direction: I became a producer. I was so passionate about the need to tell that story at that moment that I built the producing infrastructure necessary to make it happen by creating New Feet Productions. Since its founding in 2009, New Feet has produced or co-produced five full productions at venues ranging from HERE to the Spoleto Festival.
Actors: Nick Dillenburg, David McCann, Erin Moon, Luis Moreno, Trevor Vaughn, Scott Whitehurst
Designers: Christopher Akerlind, Jeremy Lee, Emily Pepper, Austin Switser
“…a thoughfully directed Henry V performed by six talented actors who deliver the sense of Shakespeare’s words in American cadences without losing their poetry…” – The New York Times.
“Every now and then, you’ll find one of the rarer species of conceptualized classics: a production which develops its new take from the inside-out, investing as much care and energy into illuminating the text as it is (and not what the director wishes it was) as it does bringing the concept to life. Thankfully, Jessica Bauman’s Into the Hazard is just such a production. …one of the most entertaining and enjoyable classical productions I’ve seen in some time…” – NYTheatre.com.
“…simply an elegant production of Henry V itself, complete with all that heady verse converting simple iambs into the plunge and sway of battle…” – TimeOut NY.
“Bauman offers many instances in which the staging reflects the contradictions inherent in the play’s plot and structure. One of Bauman’s stated goals was to examine how media culture shapes our perceptions of war and heroism: it’s a part of the public staging of ceremony and as such is used to sell the play’s thematic bill of goods…” – Brooklyn Rail.
“The worst thing Into the Hazard has to worry about is a surfeit of riches. The presentation–particularly from the actors–is more than enough to balance out the stray haphazard modernization, or over-the-top flourish. Jessica Bauman has succeeded in making one of Shakespeare’s slower histories, Henry V, into a dynamic show for today…” – New Theatre Corps.