Kings of war
Directed by Ivo van Hove. Kings of War combines Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III into a single, explosive play about leadership.
William Shakespeare’s kings are political leaders who come face to face with the ultimate responsibility: they must make the life-or-death decision of whether to go to war. Shakespeare draws us into the psychology of the rulers, while also revealing the machinations of their courtiers and advisors. Kings of War lays bare the mechanisms of decision-making in times of political crisis, exposing the dichotomy between national interests and self-importance. Henry V (Ramsey Nasr), at first a young and inexperienced monarch, quickly reveals himself to be a rational, moral leader who is willing to place his country’s interests above his own. He marries a French princess in order to secure peace. Henry VI (Eelco Smits) fails to reconcile the warring factions and knows that the French are poised to invade. Shakespeare portrays Henry VI as a ineffectual ruler who is excluded from the centre of power as his country crumbles around him. His rank leads only to isolation. Richard III (Hans Kesting) is depicted as the embodiment of evil; a king with absolutely no regard for the national interests. In fact, he deliberately destroys the fragile peace which follows the Wars of the Roses. Richard is egocentric: as a leader, he lacks all empathy and seeks only ultimate power for himself. He regards himself as 'God’s equal', his only desire to rule over life and death. England is merely the backdrop.
Produced by Toneelgroep Amsterdam and co-produced by Muziektheater Transparant, BL!NDMAN, Holland Festival, Barbican London, Théâtre National de Chaillot and Wiener Festwochen.
|Théâtre National de Chaillot Paris (Paris)|
+33 1 53 65 30 00
|Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam (Amsterdam)|
+31 20 624 23 11
|Barbican Centre London (London)|
+44 20 7638 8891
Text: William Shakespeare • Set design | Lighting design: Jan Versweyveld • Video: Tal Yarden • Costume Design: An D'Huys • Dramaturgy: Peter Van Kraaij • Actors: Alwin Pulinckx • Aus Greidanus jr. • Bart Slegers • Chris Nietvelt • Eelco Smits • Fred Goessens • Hans Kesting • Hélène Devos • Hugo Koolschijn • Janni Goslinga • Kitty Courbois • Ramsey Nasr • Robert de Hoog • Harm Duco Schut • Ensemble: BL!NDMAN [brass] • Countertenor: Steve Dugardin • Composition: Eric Sleichim • Direction: Ivo van Hove