Orson Welles Presents

In the aftermath of Shakespeare im Park’s staged (and wandering) adaptation of Henry IV in Berlin’s Görlitzer Park in 2011, we began work re-adapting our adaptation as a classic Mercury Theater-style radio play. We teamed up again with Tony Award-winning composer Stew, who worked with us on new music for the Park production, and in February 2012, we went into the studio in Berlin. In this new version, aficionados Orson Welles and Harold Bloom find themselves as guests in a radio studio co-hosting a rather unconventional production of the Shakespeare classic. Before long, the broadcast unravels into chaos: a sonic ensemble of sexually-voracious Welsh Women, inept revolutionary magicians scheming a techno-coup, politicized tea-party cross-fires, a charmingly-feminine Prince Hal, and the star of our show, the “spokesman for Merry England,” Sir John Falstaff, frolicking freely through the airwaves ever in search of those mighty minions of the moon. Since our inception, one of Shakespeare im Park’s interests has been to investigate the challenges and possibilities of playing with and across multiple languages in performance. With Orson Welles Presents, we extend this exploration – in German and English – into a purely acoustic space as a means of both revisiting and refunctioning the storytelling techniques of that “golden age of radio.” In February 2013, we were invited by English Theatre Berlin to present a rough cut of the production before a live audience, which inspired a series of rewrites and tweaks back in the studio. We are currently in the final stages of post-production, and in conversations with a few Hörspiel producers across Germany. We hope the piece will premiere on public radio before the end of 2015.

Recorded at AudioCue Tonlabor, Berlin (February 2012)
Original Music Composition: stew
Sound Editing & Mastering: Peter Remmers

Ensemble: Eva Barrie, Katrin Beushausen, Maxwell Flaum, Marian Kaiser, Benjamin Kiesewetter, Benjamin Levent Krause, Franziska Kruse, Ana Mena, Nadine Rahimtoola, Paul Schmidt, Errol Shaker, Sarah-Jane St. Clair, stew, Sebastian Stegemann, Marina Steiner, Gianni von Weitershausen, Meridian Winterberg, Sebastian Witt, Brandon Woolf

And here are two preview tracks, fresh from the Schnittlabor.

Sneak Preview 1:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Sneak Preview 2:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Some Critical Ponderings on Henry IV:

Oy-gewald! This goes way beyond gratuitous titillation…this- is- obscenity. I believe these
people have taken liberties to a new realm of liberty taking! They have enlarged on a single
line in Act 1, Scene 1, regarding Welsh women, and milked it beyond the incredible, to the
point of adolescent sexual frenzy.

– Harold Bloom, Time Out New York

Who is this chick playing Hal? My god, she looks a bit like my darling, Dolores Del Rio.
God rest her. I think I’m feeling a slight thrashing at my breastplate from cupid’s bubbly
pincers. God knows what a healthy love wallop would do to me at my age. Savage
devastation I’m sure.

– Orson Welles, New York Sun

There’s nothing British about this performance. It’s a truly Berlin experience in that it’s
unusual, interactive, bilingual, occasionally trilingual, and absolutely amazing.

– Tim Eastley for National Public Radio (NPR)