PinnWorth Productions takes on the question of following orders vs. following one’s conscience in its beautifully realized production of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, now playing at The Kelsey Theatre.
The play is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th Century Chancellor of England. More must choose between his religious beliefs and his allegiance to King Henry VIII when the monarch demands permission from the Holy See to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, due to her “failure” to bear him a son. The King wishes to marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress, in his quest to produce a male heir.
The Catholic Church’s refusal to grant this permission resulted in Henry’s creation of the breakaway Church of England. This further complicates More’s predicament, when he is required to take an oath of supremacy of the Crown in the relationship between the kingdom and the church in England. His refusal to break with the Catholic Church – refusing to take the oath and to publicly uphold the King’s annulment from Catherine – creates dire consequences for More and his family.
Director LouJ Stalsworth, in tandem with his wife, Set and Costume Designer Kate Pinner, has put forth a production that is a visual and artistic feast. Pinner’s set is a marvel, taking full advantage of the Kelsey venue, and providing a beautiful backdrop for the many outstanding performances in this production.
John Shanken-Kaye brings gravitas and the occasional twinkle of humor to his portrayal of Sir Thomas More, and is complemented ably by Alana Caraccio as Lady Alice More. Jeff Dworkin is lively and humorous as The Common Man, a role which demands much of the actor portraying it; Dworkin is more than up to the challenge. Rupert Hinton’s Thomas Crowell enlivened the stage with every entrance, bringing bluster, menace and humor to his performance. Julian Azan imbues his Henry VIII with the charisma and the vanity for which the monarch was known.
Thanks to PinnWorth’s cast, crew and production staff, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS is a worthy continuation of Kelsey’s 2014-15 season theme, “Rolling Out the Classics.”
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
by Robert Bolt
Directed by LouJ Stalsworth
January 9-18, 2015
The Kelsey Theatre at Mercer
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NY 08550