How have the settings of Harfluer and Agincourt been staged?
Much of the play is set in war camps and battlefields, including some of the play's most stirring and important speeches, delivered by Henry to corral the English troops. Each of these environments is slightly different; Harfluer is a siege, Agincourt is a battle fought on large open grounds with huge numbers of soldiers, and the camp settings change as the war progresses. Even the Chorus, who delivers the prologue to the play, talks about staging these important events, saying ‘think when we talk of horses, that you see them’ asking the audience to ‘piece out our imperfections with your thoughts’ and to imagine the size and scale of the battles that can’t possibly be replicated on a stage.
Take a look at the Things to Consider and investigate the different ways we’ve staged these settings in past productions in this picture gallery.
As you look through the images and photographs from past productions of Henry V, think about:
- The choices the designer has made for Harfluer and Agincourt. How can you tell which location is which in each production? Can you see how the designer Stephen Brimson Lewis has worked with height in the 2015 production, using scaffolding to create the sense of a siege? How does this differ from the scenes in the final battle at Agincourt in the same production? Ladders and scenery have been used in several productions to help the audience picture the English forces going over the walls of Harfleur. Which do you think is most effective?
- How the camp scenes contrast with the battle scenes. When Henry V tours the war camps and talks to his soldiers in disguise, he sees the effects of war and his decisions. What kind of atmosphere has been created in this scene by each designer and how has each production shown the impact of war?
How would you choose to stage these important settings on battlefields and in the war camps and help the audience to imagine them?