First Encounters The Famous Victories of Henry V: When you can't run, just stagger

Learning Lines #6

The Famous Victories of Henry V_2015_Photo by Richard Lakos _c_ RSC_162033
Martin Bassindale in rehearsal for The Famous Victories of Henry V
Photo by Richard Lakos © RSC Browse and license our images

First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Famous Victories of Henry V is a touring production tailored to young people from 8 years upwards. It brings together all the exciting moments from the three plays Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V.

In an hour and a half we'll start the last week of rehearsals.

This means having to do our first ever run of the show; the infamous 'stagger through'.

When you can't run, just stagger.

But there's one rule.

Whatever happens, you can't stop. No matter how many lines you have to ask for, or how many scenes you narrowly avoid forgetting, or indeed how many times you don't even make it on stage, you must keep going.

'Staggering' is a sustained and often painful sensation.

But also really quite amazing.

Like watching a newly born calf learn how to walk, or listening to a child attempt to play the violin, or even watching a fully grown man try to dance. There is awkwardness, there is frustration but there are also numerous moments of 'Get in there!' and 'Back-of-the-net!' (Loosely translated to 'well done' and 'really well done')

Last week we made some good progress.

Highlights included:

1. Watching Allo Allo and then practicing our French accents. 
2. Realising that Allo Allo was truly spectacular and that if you say anything loudly and confidently whilst wearing a stripy t-shirt and holding red wine you'll pass as French. 
3. Hearing our new French accents descend with terrifying ease into West African ones. 
4. Playing out Shakespeare scenes with globe-trotting, hyperactively, wild actors.

The stagger through should be a glorious success

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