By Lady Ursula the Widow
Accolon Shadowhawk first auditioned for the Known World Players over ten years ago, hoping that one day the company might stage Shakespeare’s Henry V. Tonight, he will appear in the title role in “a dream come true.”
“Henry’s a hero of mine. I only hope to live up to the role in some way,” he said.
The cast first gathered together for a read-through of the play last Saturday and has rehearsed every morning of War Week starting at 8:30. Master Lorcan Dracontus, the director of the Known World Players, described their work as “incredible.” Twenty-eight people, most playing two or more roles, will perform a play with 74 characters.
Master Lorcan added that the audience “sees only two-thirds of the play—the other one-third is backstage” with wardrobe and prop mistresses handling dozens of changes. He gave special credit to Wormwood, his assistant director, who “has moved mountains this past year.”
While the cast did not meet in person until Pennsic, the process of staging the play began a year ago. Auditions were held last Pennsic and parts assigned. Telephone rehearsals were held, and cast members could log into a private page on the Known World Players website to see stage diagrams indicating what they would have to do in each scene.
Order of the Laurel vigilant Tyzes Sofia, founder and former director of the company, is also in the cast. She praised the actors’ dedication. “When I directed the troupe, I was always surprised that people came back, because of how hard I made them work. Lorcan inspires them in the same way.” Many of the actors have spent their Pennsic time outside regular rehearsals going over parts or choreographing fight scenes.
Part of the Known World Players’ mission is training, and Master Lorcan makes it a principle to use every actor who comes forward. “We need to involve more people, both actors and technicians,” he said, looking around the already bustling Performing Arts Pavilion.
At age twelve, the youngest cast member, Ana Ximenez de Hume, has been in the SCA since birth and taught her first A&S class at the age of five. She had done Fairy Tale Theatre in earlier years, but last year she decided to try out for the Known World Players. “She read several roles very strongly despite her age,” Master Lorcan said, and she was cast in the important supporting part of Gloucester. The role was adapted so that the character now appears as a young boy on his first campaign.
This is Ana’s first time acting in a Shakespeare play. “It’s fun,” she said, “but half the time I have no idea what they’re saying.”
Henry V will be presented tonight at 7:30 PM at the Performing Arts Pavilion. Be there with your band of brothers.