Shakespearean Histories and Greek History: Henry V and Richard II at the Greek National Theatre (1941, 1947)
Henry V and Richard II made their first and only appearance on the Greek stage in the turbulent 1940s. The first was performed in March 1941, just before the arrival of the German nazis, and the second in November 1947, a year after the problematic referendum on the future of the Greek monarchy and in the midst of the Greek civil war. The producer in both times was the state-funded National Theatre of Greece. The article argues that the national stage appropriated these plays in order to influence public sentiment about current historical events (World War II and restoration of monarchy), but it failed to make an impact in either case. The reasons for the failure are traced in the interrelationship of historical context, staging style, and audience needs.