American Shakespeare Center presents "Henry IV, Part I
Henry IV, Part 1
Stuff that happens before the play
• King Richard II yields his crown to his cousin Bullingbrook, making him King Henry IV.
• King Henry sends Richard to Pomfret castle where he is eventually killed by Henry’s supporters.
• At the close of Richard II (the play chronologically preceding Henry IV, Part 1), the newly enthroned Henry IV promises to make a penitential trip to the Holy Land.
STUFF THAT HAPPENS IN THE PLAY
• King Henry meets with his advisers to discuss his proposed crusade to the Holy Land, but the discussion turns to new battles on England’s northern borders.
• In the north, England’s forces have prevailed over the Scots, but the young English nobleman Harry Percy (Hotspur) won’t turn over his prisoners to King Henry.
• The King mourns the wanton behavior of his own Harry, his son, the Prince of Wales.
• The King puts off the crusade and calls a meeting with the Percy family.
• Away from court, Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff taunt each other after a night of drinking. Their cohort Poins attempts to enlist them in an upcoming robbery; after Falstaff leaves, Poins persuades Hal to rob and embarrass Falstaff; after Poins leaves, Hal tells the audience his plans for the future.
• King Henry meets with Hotspur, Hotspur’s father (Northumberland), and Hotspur’s uncle (Worcester) to demand that Hotspur give up his prisoners. Hotspur agrees to do so only if the King will ransom Mortimer (Hotspur’s brother-in-law) from captivity in Wales. The King refuses.
• Hotspur’s family members agree on a plot to depose the King that involves Douglas (a Scottish warrior) and Glendower (a self-proclaimed Welsh wizard).
• Falstaff and his confederates (Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill) rob some travelers and are, in turn, robbed by the disguised Prince Hal and Poins.
• Hotspur reads a letter from a nobleman who refuses to join the rebellion against King Henry. Hotspur’s wife (Lady Percy) asks Hotspur what’s troubling him.
• At a tavern in Eastcheap, Falstaff exaggerates and lies about the robbery. A nobleman brings a summons for Hal from the King.
• In Wales, the rebels plan their campaign against the royal forces and discuss the division of the kingdom they have yet to win.
• Honor, cowardice, bravery, growing-up, and civil wars ensue.