Design Team Chosen for Liev Schreiber Henry V in Central Park

News   Design Team Chosen for Liev Schreiber Henry V in Central Park Director Mark Wing-Davey has chosen his design team for the Liev Schreiber Henry V which will fill Central Park's Delacorte Theater this summer.

Mark Wendland will conceive the sets. Gabriel Berry will lead the cast into battle costumes. David Weiner is lighting designer and Acme Sound Partners handles the sound design. John Gromada will compose some original music.

Dates are June 24-Aug. 10. No other casting has been announced.

Tickets are free and will be available on the day of the performance (two per person) at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1 PM and at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street (near Astor Place), from 1 PM to 3 PM. The closest entrances to The Delacorte are at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

For additional information about Shakespeare in Central Park, call (212) 539-8750 or visit The Public Theater web-site at www.publictheater.org. *

By playing the young king, Schreiber continues his long artistic relationship with the Public Theater, where he has previously taken on three leading Shakespearean parts, winning critical praise for each performance (even when the production was not applauded). They were: Iachimo in Cymbeline in 1998, also in the park (for which he won an Obie Award); Hamlet in 1999; and Iago in Othello in 2001. He worked with director Andrei Serban on the first two, Doug Hughes on the last. In between his classical roles, Schreiber found time to appear in Harold Pinter's Betrayal on Broadway and the premiere of Neil LaBute's The Mercy Seat Off-Broadway at MCC Theatre. Recently, he was in discussions to play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at New York Theatre Workshop. The production did not materialize.

Henry V tells of the youthful English leader's rise to the throne and how, after casting off the profligate friends of his callow youth (including Falstaff), he vigorously assumes his new role and leads the English troops to a surprising victory over France at Agincourt, during the Hundred Years War. The rousing and patriotic history play is often performed at times of war. Henry's famous "band of brothers" speech, in which he whips up the courage of his beleaguered and outnumbered troops, is particularly renowned for its sense of soldierly spirit and valor. However, certain interpretations (included Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film) have brought out the more gritty and disconcerting aspects of Shakespeare's depiction of warfare.

It is not known what approach Wing-Davey will take, but it seems safe to expect that the production will comment, either directly or obliquely, on the war in Iraq.

As with last year, the Delacorte Theater season will be cut down from two plays to only one play, albeit a single staging with a longer run than usual. Last year's attraction was Twelfth Night, with Julia Stiles and Oliver Platt.