The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will present Shakespeare’s Henry IV at the Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, and Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake. The play follows Prince Hal in his journey to become the king of England, as he rebels against and reconciles with his father, King Henry IV. Shakespeare wrote two parts of Henry IV. Pigeon Creek’s production combines those two parts into one production. The script adaptation was created by Paul Riopelle, who is an Actors’ Equity Association guest artist for the production, playing the role of Hal.
Riopelle says his interest in the play comes from the fact that “I think at the heart of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 is an experience we have all had to face in our lives—the struggle to leave our adolescence behind, and come into our own as adults. We have all, in our own way, faced the kind of challenges Prince Hal grapples with in the plays—the lure of fun over responsibility, wrestling with parental expectations and dynamics as we grow older, possibly indulging in behaviors or company we know aren’t good for us.”
Along with Riopelle, the production features actors Chaz Albright, Kathleen Bode, Chaz Bratton, Michael Dodge, Kimberlee Griggs, Bradley Hamilton,Kat Hermes, Scott Lange, Eric Orive, Sarah Stark, and Scott Wright. The production is directed by Dennis Henry, who has previously directed Coriolanus and The Winter’s Tale for Pigeon Creek. Henry is a Chicago-based director who recently completed a fellowship at the Cleveland Playhouse.
Both Henry and Riopelle commented on their continued interested in coming to Michigan to work with Pigeon Creek. Henry commented, “I like working for Pigeon Creek Shakespeare because they approach Shakespeare’s works with enthusiasm, a dedication to celebrating his words and telling stories that are captivating, fast-paced, and entertaining. We always have a great time in rehearsal and that fun spills over on to the performance stage and into the audience.” Riopelle, who is also a regular company member at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, said “I’ll jump at any chance I get to work with the artists at Pigeon Creek Shakespeare. Having performed with nearly a dozen Classical theatres over the years, I’ve worked with actors who are very gifted, but lazy and constantly phoning it in. I’ve also worked with very dedicated actors who work their hearts out, but simply don’t have the chops to tell the story well. The actors and directors at Pigeon Creek are the rare exception of talent and commitment combined.”
The production will play at the Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson SE in Grand Rapids, August 12-14 and 19-21, and at Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake for one night only on September 9. Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For tickets to the Dog Story performances, visit www.dogstorytheater.com. For tickets to the Seven Steps Up performance, call the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company at 616-850-0916.