ACT IScene 1. King Henry’s plans to lead a crusade to the Holy Land are frustrated when he hears that an English army under Edmund Mortimer has been defeated by the Welsh chieftan Owen Glendower. Henry reveals that Harry Percy, known as Hotspur, has defeated the Scottish Earl of Douglas in battle. Thinking of his son, unruly Hal, the King envies the valiant Hotspur’s father, the Lord Northumberland. The King’s council is to convene on the following Wednesday when Hotspur will be made to account for his giving the king only one of his hostages.Scene 2. Ned Poins tries to persuade Prince Hal and his friend, the debauched knight Sir John Falstaff, to take part in a robbery at Gadshill. The Prince reuses but is finally persuaded by Poins, who has a secret scheme to expose Falstaff for the coward he is. Once alone, Hal muses on his unprincely behavior, comparing himself to the sun, who allows himself to be covered by the clouds, only to appear more brilliant when he emerges from the “ugly mists.”Scene 3. King Henry angrily dismisses Worcester when the Earl reminds him that it was his family that first put Henry on the throne. Hotspur claims that his irritation at the arrival of a foppish courtier on the battlefield has been misinterpreted as a refusal to give up prisoners to the king. However, he will only agree to surrender them if the King ransoms Mortimer, Hotspur’s brother-in-law. Henry is incensed: Mortimer, he says, is a traitor, having married his captor Owen Glendower’s daughter. Unmoved by Hotspur’s impassioned defense of Mortimer, he warns, “Send us your prisoners, or you will hear of it.” Northumberland restrains the enraged Hotspur. Worcester reminds them that the King’s hostility to Mortimer stems from the fact that he, not Henry, is Richard II’s rightful heir. When Hotspur finally calms down, his uncles suggests that they raise a rebellion against the King, relying on the support of Glendower, Douglas, Mortimer, and the Archbishop of York.
ACT IIScene 1. Gadshill hears that there are wealthy travelers on the road: an ideal prey for their planned robbery.Scene 2. Falstaff and his cronies rob the travelers, and are, in turn, assaulted by Hal and Poins, who are in disguise.Scene 3. Hotspur’s wife Kate begs him to tell her why he is so abstracted, but he warns her not to question him further.Scene 4. Prince Hal is relaxing in an Eastcheap tavern when Falstaff arrives and recounts how he fought off eleven men. When Hal reveals that the two assailants were, in fact, Poins and himself, Falstaff is unabashed, claiming that he recognized Hal all along, and would not have killed the heir apparent. A messenger arrives from the King, summoning the Prince to court in the morning: the rebels are rising. Hal is concerned at the prospect of being horribly “chid” by his father the king but Falstaff persuades him to practice an answer. A Sheriff arrives to arrest Falstaff for his part in the robbery, but Hal lies to protect his friend. The stolen money, he says, will be paid back with interest.
ACT IIIScene 1. The rebels gather at Glendower’s castle in Wales. Hotspur and Glendower quarrel over the division of the Kingdom, though Hotspur is finally pacified. The wives of Hotspur and Mortimer enter and the rebels seem at amity.Scene 2. The king upbraids Hal for his unprincely behavior. Hal begs forgiveness, promising that he will match the brave Hotspur in valor. Scene 3. Falstaff claims that he has had his pockets picked in the tavern, but the Hostess hotly denies it. Hal arrives and banters with Falstaff, before setting off for the war.
ACT IVScene 1. In their camp near Shrewsbury, the rebels receive word that Northumberland is sick and cannot join the campaign. Worcester is concerned that his absence will be construed as a sign of weakness. Hotspur, however, remains optimistic even when they learn that the King is on his way and that Glendower cannot be with them for fourteen days.Scene 2. Falstaff bemoans the ragged company of which he is captain. Scene 3. Hotspur is eager to join battle at once but Worcester and Sir Richard Vernon advise caution. Sir Walter Blunt arrives, asking the rebels to state their grievances and promising pardon in return. Hotspur rails against the King’s betrayal of the Percy family and refuses to give an answer until the following morning.Scene 4. The Archbishop of York expresses his anxiety that, with the absence of both Northumberland and Glendower, all might not go well for the rebels in the forthcoming battle.
ACT VScene 1. Henry will pardon the rebels if they disband their forces. Hal offers to meet Hotspur in single combat.Scene 2. Worcester believes that, even if they agree to the terms, the King will always remain suspicious of them. He therefore conceals Henry’s “liberal and kind offer” from Hotspur, thus spurring him into battle.Scene 3. Hotspur kills Blunt. Falstaff jokes with Hal, but the Prince is in no mood for jesting.Scene 4. Prince Hal acquits himself bravely in the battle, saving his father from Douglas and killing Hotspur. Falstaff claims that it was he who finished Hotspur and is unabashed when Hal shows him to be a liar. Scene 5. Henry condemns Worcester and Vernon to death. Hal frees Douglas for his courage. The King describes how he will defeat the remaining rebels.
CASTKing Henry IV: Julian Glover / Prince Hal: Jamie Glover / Falstaff: Richard Griffiths / Hotspur: Alan Cox / Mistress Quickly: Elizabeth Spriggs / Northumberland: Peter Jeffrey / Worcester: Anthony Jackson / Glendower: Ian Hughes / Douglas: Mark Bonnar / Poins: Charles Simpson / Lady Percy: Jane Slavin / York: Michael N. Harbour / Vernon: Nicholas Murchie / Westmoreland: Philip Whitechurch / Bardolph: Sidney Livingstone / Blunt: David King / Other parts played by Peter England, Rachel Lumberg, John McAndrew, Chris Pavlo, Paul Reynolds, Justin Salinger, and Alisdair Simpson
Director: Clive Brill / Composer: Dominique Le Gendre / Production coordinators: Polly Coles and Charlotte Harvey / Sound engineer: Wilfredo Acosta / Producers: Bill Shepherd and Tom Treadwell
TRACK LISTDisc 1Track 1: Act I, Scene iTrack 2: Act I, Scene iiTrack 3: Act I, Scene iii|Track 4: Act II, Scene iTrack 5: Act II, Scene iiTrack 6: Act II, scene iii
Disc 2Track 1: Act II, Scene ivTrack 2: Act III, Scene iTrack 3: Act III, Scene ii
Disc 3Track 1: Act II, Scene iiiTrack 2: Act IV, Scene iTrack 3: Act IV, Scene iiTrack 4: Act IV, Scene iiiTrack 5: Act IV, Scene ivTrack 6: Act V, Scene iTrack 7: Act V, Scene iiTrack 8: Act V, Scene iiiTrack 9: Act V, Scene ivTrack 10: Act V, Scene v