The culminating event of the third-year drama program is the Shakespeare repertory cycle. This year's bill includes two plays about British kings. Cymbeline, directed by Jenny Lord, is based on legends about Roman Britain and has been variously characterized as a tragedy, a romance, and a comedy; like all Shakespearean plays it has elements of all three. Henry V, directed by Rebecca Guy, is largely about the Battle of Agincourt, one of the greatest English military victories. Below is one of the play's most famous speeches, in which King Henry exhorts his men to charge once more despite the terrible losses they've already suffered.
Henry V, Act III, Scene 1
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility.
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage.
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect,
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon. Let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot.
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”