Irondale Ensemble in "1599"4 plays. 6 actors. 100+ characters.
Inspired by James Shapiro’s A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, 1599, the Brooklyn-based Irondale Ensemble presented Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet in one spellbinding drama tracing the journey of one mythic hero as he transforms through four plays and four characters, moving from youthful idealist to a madman.
To our delight, Irondale invited us to photograph this truly unique adventure. Six actors play dozens of roles. We follow them up and down and through the nooks and crannies of their amazingly appropriate performance space: a former Sunday school auditorium in the historic Lafayette Avenue, formerly neglected and now home to Irondale Ensemble.
Henry V takes us to 15th-century England during the Hundred Years’ War. We witness conspiracy and battle, and try to keep up with who’s who as the six actors fill the roles of Henry, Bardolph, Pistol, Nim, the Dauphin, Katharine, and all the others.
High in the eerie church balcony, a Soothsayer calls out to Caesar to “beware the ides of March.” You probably know the rest, but you have never seen a Caesar, Cassius, Brutus, and Antony like those from Irondale.
As You Like It
We certainly needed a breather after the intensity of Caesar. We are rewarded with the pretendings and mix-ups, and antics of this romantic comedy.
Sitting in the dim church, we easily believe in the ghost of Claudius and fearfully watch as the murderous plot progresses. As through much of the entire 1599, the action takes place a mere few feet from us.