Edward Hall, who parted company with the Royal Shakespeare Company (founded, forty years ago, by his father, Sir Peter Hall) earlier this year in a dispute about his proposed production of Edward III, is continuing to prove himself more than capable of making it without the support of a major subsidized company, by staging his own company's production of Shakespeare's Henry VI plays.
Rose Rage, split into two evenings, is a conflation of the Henry VI plays and deals with the long battle between the rival aristocratic families of York and Lancaster for the English crown.
Adding a period authenticity to the performance, his company, Propeller, is using an all-male cast, as would have happened in Shakespeare's days.
Hall's last production for the RSC was another history play — Julius Caesar — which involved politics and a battle for power between warring factions. Given the stormy nature of the internal politics of the RSC over the last year, he will have had plenty of personal experience to draw on.
Rose Rage takes an interesting angle on the actual violence that was integral to the events of the Wars of the Roses: Hall has chosen to represent violence by an onstage chopping and hammering of animal organs, thus combining a metaphor for violence with (literally) real blood and guts.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow