Just as casting an actress for the Chorus invites a female perspective, “having a female Governor of Harfleur feminized the city and provided a direct response to the horrendous threat of rape and murder that Henry had offered, his language and her body in direct connection and opposition.” Freestone took the regendering further in her 2018 production for the Bristol Tobacco Factory, confronting the play’s masculine world by casting
“female actors in the male roles of Exeter (Alice Barclay), Montjoy (Amy Rockson), Gower (Melody Brown), Bardolph/Williams/Macmorris (Rosie Armstrong) as well as Joanne Howarth’s doubling of Burgundy and the Chorus ... But this was neither a gimmick nor an empty gesture nor did the production aim merely to install female actors into patriarchal positions of power; rather it sought to demonstrate that the world of high politics was as natural and frustrating a place for female as for male agency.”
When her lover (Le Fer/Orleans), is killed by Pistol, she cradles the body and uses it, like a grotesque dummy, for the English lesson – before physically resisting Henry with anguish and despair in the wooing scene.
less a blushing bride who turns swords to wedding bells in the play’s sentimental final scene, than a raging termagant with more than a dash of Joan La Pucelle [Joan of Arc] about her. Dressed in gothic black with huge buckled boots, studded gloves and a shaven head, Heledd Gwynn’s Katherine was a gutsy and rebellious presence.