One of the best things about having an Allens' Caravan holiday in Worcestershire or Warwickshire is how easy it is to soak in some culture whilst you're there. Many of our parks, though set in stunning rural surroundings, are in close proximity to Stratford-upon-Avon. The town is a delightful place to visit for the day, steeped in history with lots of shops and sights to see. More notably though, Stratford-upon-Avon is England's Shakespearean heart with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre holding performances of Shakespeare's greatest works all year round.
As wonderful as this most English of playwrights was, some of the Shakespearean drama can be heavy going and difficult to follow without fully digesting the text and themes beforehand. This is especially they case for Shakespeare's beloved Histories, two of which are on at the Royal Shakespeare theatre in 2014. Henry IV Parts I & II are a truly Tudor account of the War of the Roses and they are not to be missed, but they can take a little work. That is why we have put together the below summary of both parts. Have a read through and book your tickets; you'll know the plot before you get there so you'll be able to sit back and enjoy the dramatization! For more information on our gorgeous caravan holiday homes visit our website and see the UK's rich heritage in person!
Henry IV Part I
(Royal Shakespeare Theatre May - Sep 2014)
Richard II is dead and King Henry IV (Henry Bolingbroke) is feeling guilty about his part in Richard's usurpation, so he is planning a Crusade back to the Holy Land where he will cleanse himself.
However, the Crusade has to be postponed because news arrives of a rebellion in Wales. Henry's cousin Edmund Mortimer has been taken prisoner and Harry Hotspur is fighting the Earl of Douglas in the North.
The King's heir, Henry (a.k.a Hal) doesn't have any interest in his princely duties and instead spends his time frequenting London taverns with questionable company, like immoral knight Sir John Falstaff.
Falstaff commits a robbery to fund his bad habits and pay his debts but Hal turns him in. Hal does protect Falstaff from the full wrath of the law, but he returns all of the stolen money to the victims.
Hotspur meanwhile is forced to support the king but he plots with his father and uncle (Worcester) to support Glendower, Mortimer and Douglas as they stand against King Henry.
When Hal returns to Court he reconciles with his father (the king) and is given a command in the army preparing to encounter Hotspur. Falstaff is also given a command but because he accepts bribes in place of proper recruitment, his ranks are full of beggars instead of able men.
The king pardons Hotspur on the condition that he stands down. Glendower's troops and those in Northumberland are unable to advise Hotspur of the development and Worcester withholds the information, so the battle begins at Shrewsbury.
Falstaff is a coward, Hal saves his father's life and kills Hotspur. Falstaff claims he killed Hotspur but in actual fact, he spent the majority of the battle ‘playing dead' to avoid coming to harm.
The play ends with a quick succession of events. The king's army wins against the rebels. Worcester is put to death. Hal frees Douglas whilst Henry and his troops are away fighting Mortimer, the Welsh and what's left of the Northumberland troops.
Henry IV Part II
(Royal Shakespeare Theatre May - Sep 2014)
Picking up where Part I left off, Part II starts with King Henry IV at war. He was victorious at the battle of Shrewsbury, despite the Earl of Northumberland hearing rumours that his son (Harry Hotspur) won. Led by Prince John, Northumberland plots with the Archbishop of York to oppose the king.
News of Hotspur's death finally reaches the family and his widow, Lady Northumberland, begs the men not to continue with the rebellion.
Falstaff is censured for his behaviour during battle but he is encouraged to join Prince John's forces by the Lord Chief Justice. Falstaff is then arrested for his debts to the Boar's Head Tavern but he convinces the landlady to make amends and move on. With the debt resolved, instead of going to war, he goes back to the tavern to recruit men. Hal and a companion are at the tavern disguised as servants; they stay there and watch whilst Falstaff continues in his corrupt ways.
York, Mowbray and Hastings get ready for the impending battles whilst the Earl of Westmorland comes on behalf of Prince John to hear their grievances and see the progress of their peace talks. When the rebel armies disperse however, Westmorland arrests the three for treason.
King Henry IV meanwhile is very ill. Hal sees the king sleeping but thinks he is dead. The king wakes up to see Hal trying on his crown, something that angers him and leads to a disagreement. The two make up before the king passes.
Falstaff hears of the king's death and sets out for Hal's coronation. However, instead of getting the high office he expects, Falstaff is disowned and banished by the new king.
The play closes with a hurt Falstaff hoping the new king will change his mind. King Henry V however, is busy making plans for war with France.
There you have a quick recap of William Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts I & II. Now all you need to do is get in touch with the team here at www.allenscaravans.co.uk, book your holiday caravan in Stratford-upon-Avon and get yourself ready for a night at the theatre! Perfect!