Henry VI, Part 2
Defeat and Disorder

  • 2009/2010 Season
  • Henry VI, Part 2 Defeat and Disorder

Henry VI is a central project of the third season under artistic director Uyama Hitoshi.

Uyama laid out four guiding principles when he took the reins as Artistic Director. One is "revival of the epics", or in other words, the ambitious reimagining of some of the classics.
This epic trilogy is the only historical drama in the Shakespeare canon. It is based on real events of the famous War of the Roses that took place in 15th century England. The play depicts the aspects of love, hate, and war that are universal to humankind. It focuses on the lives of a variety of people, and calls on the viewer to look for areas of commonality with modern society. A different part of Henry VI will be performed each day, and there are plans to perform all three parts on the same day.


The Duke of Gloucester, Henry's uncle and regent of the crown, opposes his marriage to Margaret. The Duke is clashing with the Bishop of Winchester and his agents, and finds himself the target of their machinations. His wife Elanor is accused of dabbling in necromancy and apprehended. Gloucester insists he is innocent, but his rivals succeed in ousting him from the regent's position by pressuring Henry. Gloucester is afterwards assassinated by agents of the Duke of Suffolk and the Queen, who are lovers. Amidst this struggle between factions of nobles, the Duke of York is consolidating his own power. He orchestrates a rebellion in Kent, led by Jack Cade, as a means to shake the king's grip on power. Cade and his rebels march on London, but their fortunes take a sharp turn for the worse. Cade flees and takes shelter in a garden, where he is killed by the owner. Suffolk is banished by Henry VI, who is grieving the death of Gloucester. On his way to France, Suffolk is murdered by pirates. York returns with his army from Ireland. He had requested the banishment of his political rival the Duke of Somerset, and is incensed to learn that Henry has not done so. York expresses his dissatisfaction publicly. Thus was begun the War of the Roses, with the first stage ending in a victory for the House of York.

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