Innovative director Ivo van Hove merges four Shakespeare plays into one monumental production in KINGS OF WAR at BAM (photo by Jan Versweyveld)
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Peter Jay Sharp Building
230 Lafayette Ave.
November 3-6, $30-$130
This past spring, BAM presented the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings,” four Bard plays — Richard II, Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II, and Henry V — done in repertory over more than five weeks. Now superstar director and BAM fave Ivo van Hove, who just staged Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge and The Crucible back-to-back on Broadway in addition to Lazarus at New York Theatre Workshop, returns to Brooklyn with Kings of War, a 264-minute extravaganza that merges Henry V, Henry VI Parts I, II & III, and Richard III in contemporary surroundings. The cast features Ramsey Nasr as Henry V, Hans Kesting as Richard III, Eelco Smits as Henry VI, Hélène Devos as Lady Anne, Bart Siegers as Edward IV, Marieke Heebink as the Duchess of York, Leon Voorberg as Charles VI, and Alwin Pulinckx as the Prince of Wales. The Toneelgroep Amsterdam production, in a Dutch translation by Rob Klinkenberg adapted by Bart van den Eynde and Peter van Kraaij, is designed and lit, as always, by Jan Versweyveld, with costumes by An D’Huys and projections by Tal Yarden. There will also be a live brass band along with contratenor Steve Dugardin performing music by Eric Sleichim. Van Hove has previously staged Antigone, Angels in America, Opening Night, Cries and Whispers, and Roman Tragedies at BAM. Despite his innovative, often multimedia staging, both experimental and awe-inspiring, Van Hove is not just about dazzling production values. As BAM’s Christian Barclay notes in his BAMblog essay “Tragedy, Power, and Catharsis: Ivo van Hove’s Theatrical Humanism,” “At BAM, Van Hove’s intuitive, visionary approach to theater has now struck five times over just the past eight years (with all but one of the productions staged with his Dutch company, Toneelgroep Amsterdam). While certainly diverse in scope, from minimalist reimaginings of classic texts to wholly original screen-to-stage adaptations, all of Van Hove’s work could be said to proffer an acute examination of human behavior.” Kings of War will play a mere four performances at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, running November 3-6, and according to the program there is only one intermission. Consider yourselves warned.