William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2

May 31 to June 11 | Schubert Theatre

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“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

By William Shakespeare

May 31 to June 11 | Schubert Theatre

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

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Show Extras:

  • Opening Night, Friday, June 2: Join the PSF actors and staff for a friendly post-show champagne toast.
  • Prologues: Join us for insights into the play in an informal setting. Free.
    Held in the theatre 45 minutes prior to curtain.
  • Meet the actors for a talk-back after the show: Thursday, June 8.
  • Audio Described performance: Saturday, June 10, 2:00pm.

 

 

 

Performance Calendar

Events in May 2023

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
May 1, 2023
May 2, 2023
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May 30, 2023

7:30 pm: Henry IV, Part 2 (P)


May 31, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

7:30 pm: Henry IV, Part 2 (P)


June 1, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

7:30 pm: Henry IV, Part 2 (O)


June 2, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

2:00 pm: Henry IV, Part 2


June 3, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

2:00 pm: Henry IV, Part 2


June 4, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

7:30 pm: Henry IV, Part 2


June 4, 2023

The next chapter in Shakespeare’s epic cycle, Henry IV, Part 2 continues the richly layered coming-of-age tale begun in King Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 of previous seasons. King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by swirling conspiracies and enemies at the borders. Prince Hal must distance himself from a life of frivolity to reconcile the public and private life as the mantle of kingship passes from father to son. The irrepressibly decadent Falstaff is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield with an exacting eye to a future when Hal is king. Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal, and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.

“Extreme Shakespeare” returns! This production will be rehearsed akin to the way Shakespeare’s company would have—actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days. No directors, no designers. Just great actors, a brilliant play, pure adrenaline, spontaneity, and creativity. Ages 10+

Reviews

"who knew history could be so much fun?"

Paul Willistein, Lehigh Valley Press

"...it’s an ideal setting for the ragtag spirit of Extreme Shakespeare"

Kiran Pandey, Broad Street Review

View All

Show Features

Henry IV, Part 2 Opens the Festivities on May 31

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival launches with Henry IV, Part 2, opening the festivities on May 31 with “Extreme Shakespeare”

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival kicks off its summer season with William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2, which previews May 31 and June 1, opens June 2, and continues through June 11 in the Schubert Theatre at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

A must see for Shakespeare and literary enthusiasts alike, Henry IV, Part 2 marks the return of “Extreme Shakespeare,” with PSF actors boldly tackling the play the same way Shakespearean acting companies did—in a few fast-paced days with lines already learned and improvisational staging embraced. Operating as their own directing and design team, this ensemble will present their inventive take on one of Shakespeare’s most epic and insightful works while running on pure adrenaline and creativity. For those Shakespeare-shy audiences, this is a great way to introduce the Bard in a fun, dynamic, and unique process.

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John Ahlin Reprises His role as Falstaff

Oh, What a Knight!

By John Ahlin

If I may, I’d like to humbly offer a few tedious and brief thoughts on playing Sir John Falstaff. Henry IV, Part 2 marks the last leg of my Falstaff Triple Crown here at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, having already done Henry IV, Part 1 and The Merry Wives of Windsor. But, Ahab-like, I have been pursuing this whale of a man for nearly my whole career, and with this production I think I will have played Falstaff from the three plays a total of 15 times. Yet I truly feel in playing Sir John I am not trotting out the same old tired performance. On the contrary, every time I surf the Big Sir it only skims the oceanic vastness this globe of a man presents, as he spins magnificently in the larger universe of Shakespeare. There is so much more—so much new to explore—that, being here, now, getting to play Falstaff anew and afresh, I can say I am as excited as any time in my long career.

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