Post #1

All right, here we are with the first installment of my little blog chronicling my experience working on 1 Henry IV.

And who am I? Why, Matt Daniels, of course. Many of you might remember me from a number of Milwaukee Shakespeare performances, including Antipholus of Syracuse in Comedy of Errors, Gratiano in Merchant of Venice, Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, and most recently Bolingbroke in Richard II. That last one becomes interesting when you take into account that Bolingbroke becomes King Henry IV, the same one the play at hand deals with. (More on that in a minute.)

–Slightly More Information Than Expected (SMITE) Alert —
As for a little more background on me, I was born and raised in sunny Southern California, and moved to New York to go to The Juilliard School, whence I graduated in 1996. I stayed in New York as an actor, director and coach for many years, and relocated to Chicago with my wife in 2003. Since then I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Chicago and Milwaukee, going where the work is. (Ahhh, the actor’s life…)
–End SMITE Alert–

Okay, back to the play. I’ll be playing Sir Richard Vernon, one of Hotspur’s allies in the play. You may ask why I’m not reprising my role as Henry from Richard II… beyond whatever casting chemistry choices that needed to be made (questions with answers I’m not privy to), there’s something interesting that happens to Henry in the interim between the two plays. Even though less than two years pass chronologically, something has happened to Henry where he seems like a much older man than the returning avenger portrayed in Richard II. Additionally, Henry’s son, Hal, appears in 1 Henry 4, and since I’m only 32, it would be pretty hard to make a believable father son relationship. All said, I’m actually pretty excited to be moving on to a different role, and to explore the world of Shakespeare’s kings from a different angle.

Plus, as Vernon I get to do a lot of fighting!

I’ve never done this play before, though I have been in productions of all the other plays in the Henriad (what Milwaukee Shakespeare is calling their Rebel and King Cycle — Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Henry V). So I’m excited to be filling in this gap. It’s often regarded as Shakespeare’s best history play, some even say it’s his best play, period, and while I’m sure there are plenty of people out there to argue against that designation, I think the play is (quite frankly) awesome in it’s scope and I can’t wait to get deep into it.

Plus, as Vernon I get to do a lot of fighting!

I’m not really sure what form this blog will take. There may be extended explanations of what’s going on in the rehearsal room, there may be quick little musings on some tiny detail. What I do know is I have a great fondness for this play, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it, and sharing that with you.


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