Navigating Digital Text, Performance, & Historical Resources
The ethos of Shake-Nice! festival consists in promoting theater for all people through Shakespeare. One of the main challenges of the 2018 edition was certainly to try and make Henry V popular to French audiences, as the play questions the idea of inclusive theater when it is measured by its reception by the French. Yet, resorting to a wide range of adaptive strategies, the production of the company Antic Disposition succeeds in broadening the Elizabethan notion of popular theater to a European perspective, revisiting Shakespeare’s play so as to put its triumphalist bias at a distance, turning the performance into an inclusive one and endowing it with reparative power. It can only be hoped that this stimulating production will pave the way for further creative attempts, from the French this time, to perform Henry V as an instance of inclusive, popular theater in France, even though it encourages its audiences to think critically and collectively about the particular conflict it dramatizes and conflict in general. But creating debate, rather than consensus, has undoubtedly been part and parcel of the political agenda of popular theater from Elizabethan times until nowadays.