Over the past three years, it has become a yearly feature at Playmakers Rep: a blockbuster, multi-part production that fully tests the capacities of actors and design teams, and of the audience as well, with weekend marathon day-and-night performances that go well into extra innings. This season's entry, The Making of a King, presents Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, three-fourths of Shakespeare's second tetralogy concerning the House of Lancaster's rise to the British throne. (Richard II, which preceded them, is not being produced.)
The cycle careens through the youth and wild times of Prince Hal before tragedy demands he grow up in a hurry or lose his throne and country. Michael Winters, who made an indelible impression in PlayMakers' two versions of King Lear in 2004, should bring savor to that memorable miscreant, Sir John Falstaff, in a production co-directed by artistic director Joseph Haj and frequent guest Tom Quaintance.
The production's first half, which includes Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, opens at 7:30 tonight and repeats on Tuesday. The second half, Henry V, opens Sunday. Both repeat in rotating repertory, Tuesdays–Sundays, through March 4. —Byron Woods