Shakespearian Treasure in Lacey’s Wonderwood Park

by Bryan Willis

It takes a little effort to find it but you’ll want to treat yourself to Animal Fire Theatre’s production of King Henry IV in Lacey’s Wonderwood Park.

Animal Fire co-founder, Austen Anderson, returns to the outdoor stage to direct a stellar cast in this new adaptation he hopes will appeal to audiences unfamiliar with the Bard as well as Shakespearian aficionados.  

Drew Doyle as King Henry IV

Anderson, who teaches kindergarten by day and transforms into a film & theater geek by night, explains what attracted him to the project:

“I’ve wanted to stage this play for over 15 years because of the vibrant characters. Henry IV has so many over-the-top figures—Falstaff, the witty, rascally, debaucherous knight; Hal, the reluctant prince who learns how to party and command a room; Hotspur, an incredible warrior whose only flaw is that he just can’t stop being angry. And what’s really amazing is they aren’t just confined to one play. Many of these characters appear in multiple plays in the “Henriad” tetralogy–Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV part 2, and Henry V. So, when you talk about them and create their journeys, you have all these different events to pull from. I guess that’s the long way around for saying this production is actually two plays (Henry I & II) condensed into one 85-page script. I moved scenes around, stole text from other plays, conflated characters together, changed words I thought were too archaic — I did anything I felt I thought would help highlight the characters and tell the parts of the story I connected with.”

Korja Giles as Doll Tearsheet

This will be Animal Fire’s first production in Wonderwood Park and it’s already Anderson’s favorite: “It’s beautiful, quiet, great parking, more bunnies than bugs and the bathrooms are good. It’s been great working with the City of Lacey.”

And does that day job (apologies for revealing Anderson’s secret identity) influence the way he directs?

Left to right: Jenkins as Prince Hal and Scott Douglas as Falstaff

“Yes, absolutely. It’s really similar in the sense that you’re helping to create a small community. Kindergarteners come into school not really knowing what it’s going to be like, and so much of the year is about setting expectations and making it feel like a safe, welcoming environment, so that they can grow and learn. Welcome to a new thing. Here’s what it is. Let’s have some fun.”

It’ll be even more fun if you bring a blanket, maybe a comfy lawn chair or two, and don’t forget the picnic basket.

Scott Douglas as Falstaff

Aaron Gotzon–Bardolph/Earl of Worcester
Brian Hatcher–Earl of Douglas/ Richard II
Drew Doyle–King Henry IV
Ed Thorpe–Chief Justice
Emily Fitzgerald–Earl of Westmoreland
Jenkins–Prince Henry “Hal”
Kimberlee Wolfson–Sir Harry Percy “Hotspur”
Korja Giles–Doll Tearsheet/Sir Walter Blunt
Scott Douglas–Sir John Falstaff
Sebastian de la Cruz–Ned Poins
Sergio Antonio Garcia–Pistol/Earl of Northumberland
Kelsi Mack–Mistress Quickly

Photos by Austen Anderson.

Henry IV presented by Animal Fire Theatre
This is an adaptation, condensed into one two-hour show. Free to all, and in a brand-new space. Family Friendly – PG – 12 and up.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in July at 7 p.m.

Wonderwood Park
5304 32nd Ave SE, Lacey

Skip to content