Henry VI, Part 1
The Hundred Years' War

  • 2009/2010 Season
  • Henry VI, Part 1 The Hundred Years' War

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.


As the funeral is held for Henry V, the death of this great hero seems to portend dark days ahead for England. There is a succession of bad news, telling of a loss of territory in France and losses suffered by the English army. In England, two aristocratic families are in an open struggle for power that can be traced to a feud between the Duke of Gloucester and the Bishop of Winchester. Henry VI, who ascended to the throne as a child, is unable to control the situation. Lord Talbot's forces had been keeping up a solitary, valiant fight against the French army. As the conflict back home heats up between the House of Lancaster and House of York, Talbot is unable to get sufficient reinforcements and dies a hero in battle along with his son John. In France, a young shepherd girl (Joan of Arc) goes to see the crown prince Charles, claiming she has had a divine revelation. She leads an army into battle and by some mysterious power is able to temporarily overpower the English. She is eventually captured and burned at the stake. After a time, the French army is spent and the two countries reach a peace settlement. Meanwhile, the Earl of Suffolk becomes smitten with the beautiful Margaret, a young French princess he has captured. He arranges for her to marry Henry VI.

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