THEATER: A LONG-OVERDUE ENCORE

IN LONDON, A REPLICA OF SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE PUTS ON A SHOW THE WAY IT WAS DONE IN THE BARD'S DAY

The opening lines of Henry V have a seductive charm. Using the humble voice of the narrator, the playwright cajoles the audience to suspend disbelief. It's a bit much to ask, he admits, but might we transform "this unworthy scaffold" of the stage into the "vasty fields of France? or may we cram/Within this wooden O the very casques/That did affright the air at Agincourt?" For nearly four centuries, audiences have readily joined in this theatrical pretense. After all, who can refuse Shakespeare a favor?

When those famous lines were spoken last week at the opening of a new London production...

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