October 19, 2007, by Peter Kirwan
The Spirit of Agincourt
Any rugby fans out there? If so, and if you were watching the ITV coverage of the England vs. France world cup semi-final, you would have caught a little bit of Shakespeare in the build-up! Some bright spark at the RSC realised that millions would be watching, and that an England vs. France battle on France’s home ground had a certain resonance with their new production of Henry V. With newspapers banging on about the ‘Spirit of Agincourt’ and printing the famous St. Crispins Day speech, the link was fairly obvious!
Which is how Geoffrey Streatfeild, as Prince Hal, came to recite the famous speech in the build-up to the match, helping to get the nation’s blood pumping. The result was right too! Did anyone happen to actually see this little performance? I’d be really interested to know quite how cheesey it was!
I saw it and recorded it. The mention of St. Crispin’s Day was altered to “today” so that it read:
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us today.”
He was just a voice-over on top of some vague flag images. Quite well done.
Geoffrey’s great. He’s about to open as H5, but I hope this delivery was just for the rugby…