A Noise Within’s Henry V Depicts a Modern Classic

Dante Lopez- Bennett, Copy Editor

March 18, 2018- Pasadena’s a Noise Within theatre was alive and well with an audience of all shapes and sizes trickling into its 7:00 p.m. showing for the Shakespearean classic, Henry V. Stepping into the homely theatre, it was clear to see that the crowd was in eager anticipation of the dramatics that were soon to grace the hazily-illuminated stage.

A closely knit space no doubt, those in command of the lights had little to no room for error undoubtedly. With each of the casts’ expressions magnified, an ample visual engineering effort made in-depth performances of this Shakespearean tale quite amplified even amongst a Noise Within’s very minimalist theatre design. In ways that work to inspire wonder, there was what appeared to be a stone stepped wall with pronounced groves that is utilized as a focal piece of the setting throughout the performance to make the audience feel as though they themselves are very much a part of Henry V’s valiant effort to wrest control of a France he deems to be his by ancestral claim.

Upon entering the theatre’s main auditorium it’s clear to see the extent to which Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez Elliott have gone to make for an experience that substitutes grandeur for functionality and full-blown immersion. The space is intimate, and accommodates the positioning its audience seamlessly. With a meticulous display of lighting equipment adorning the ceiling overhead, the play itself was expertly cast adding to the conscious effect that each of the actors was hoping to imbue in the minds of the audience.

Of Conscious effects, and passionate portrayals indeed, was Rafael Goldstein in a riveting portrayal of the British King Henry’s trials and tribulations. Often sauntering across the stage in a show of swaggering force, Goldstein’s Henry was a stellar take on the medieval King despite his contemporary garb that consisted of skinny stonewashed denim, bulletproof vests, and outerwear that would not have been out of place in a John Varvatos Catalog. His portrayal, and lines fine-tuned to the humor of today’s times in moderation (tennis balls for instance) made for an overall portrayal of the king as one that was uncharacteristically Shakespeare, though unique and resonant nonetheless. This is an impressive fact considering that the cast was decked out in all black throughout the majority of the entire production .

Perhaps equally as impressive was Erika Soto’s humorously witty depiction of the charming queen consort of England, Catherine of Valois. In a show of investment that’s best said to be captivating, Soto appeared poised and readily astute for handling the intricate feelings of a character to whom both warring sides had an interest in protecting. Often times she, along with Goldstein, made for a sweetly enchanting tale of love following the carnage that had seen many of the recurring cast members kill one another in a battle just moments before. The scenes of battle in particular, appear to have been meticulously choreographed and made for fierce displays of sword-hammering-shield-clanking ferocity that made spectators more than happy to applaud before the final act. Together with Kenneth Merckx and Frederica Nascimento’s fight choreography and scenic design respectively, was the Shakespearean tale able to pull its weight and make for an all around satisfying experience well worth the money and two hour runtime.

You can catch William Shakespeare’s “Henry V” from February 4 to April 6 for the remainder of a Noise Within’s spring production showcase. Student rush tickets are available for $20 at the Pasadena theatre’s box-office window.