In Summer 2014, Shakespeare in Clark Park collaborated with Team Sunshine Performance Corporation on an epic production of Henry IV— epic because they assembled a cast of 100 people to perform a massive battle scene at the end of the play. For the first time, an SICP production would utilize the entirety of Clark Park’s bowl for a production. The rehearsals for the army were as challenging as those for the main cast; for example, it was difficult to find an indoor space as large as the Bowl, so the rehearsals of the complex troop movements required a lot of adjustments, make-dos, and imagine-this-when-you’re-in-a-bigger-space instruction.
My job this year was mainly to document the rehearsals (cast and army) and the army scenes, but I suggested that I take some of the rehearsal footage and make a short promo. That’s what you see above.
Shooting the rehearsal footage had some problems. The space, at a church in West Philly, was certainly large– but between the sound-bouncing walls, and the fans that tried to keep the temperatures under a hundred degrees, most of the sound I got was echoey and difficult to discern. On the bright side– literally, the bright side– the sunset streamed in through the windows at one end and gave the place a terrific blast of Golden Hour light. (I also tried following some of the action by extending the monopod and holding the camera about ten feet from the ground. I don’t think this worked as well as I’d hoped.)
As I said, the job required shooting army rehearsals, cast rehearsals, and some of the final performance. But Team Sunshine has the footage, and they’ll eventually use it to promote their projects.
(Film Snob Addendum: While the play was in rehearsal, another theater was staging Orson Welles’s epic Shakespeare assembly Five Kings. This play became the basis of Welles’s own 1965 film Chimes at Midnight… where he staged the Battle of Agincourt with, you guessed it, one hundred performers.)