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Henry the Fifth

Theatre in 1859 was a very ambitious undertaking and met with so great a success that the play ran to eighty-four performances. Kean attached a great deal of importance to historical accuracy. His setting for the siege of Harfleur was constructed after careful study of a Latin manuscript giving an account of the siege as seen by a priest who accompanied the army. A further spectacular effect was secured by transforming the description of Henry's return to London, as given by the Chorus, into an actual stage spectacle. Mrs. Charles Kean recited the prologues in the character of Clio, Muse of History. The most conspicuous production in England during the twentieth century was given by Lewis Waller at the Lyceum Theatre in 1900, at the time when the Boer war had stimulated British patriotism. Lily Hanbury appeared as Chorus in Waller's production.

In America, the first performance of the play of which we have any record took place at the Park Theatre in New York in 1804, with Cooper as King Henry. Macready and Waller brought their productions to this country from England, the latter in 1912. In 1876 John Coleman produced the play in New York at great expense, but it ran for only a week. Most noteworthy of the American performances is Richard Mansfield's magnificent presentation in 1900. The production opened at the Garden Theatre, New York City, October 3, after the most elaborate preparations, and had a very successful run, playing to crowded houses in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Mansfield stated that he was led to produce the play by 'a consideration of its healthy and virile tone, so diametrically in contrast to many of the performances now current.'

A great memorial performance of Henry V in London, May 4, 1916, attracted a 'full and enthusiastic' house, and evoked comments upon the contemporaneous effect of many scenes.