Inevitably, and despite mutual respect, Percy and Hal turn to war against each other. Their and others' extensive hand-to-hand combat (directed by Angela Bonacasa) is superbly executed, sometimes in slow-motion, always with a real sense of the human damage it enacts. And the success of these battle scenes is emblematic of the great triumph both of Shakespeare and this production: to remind us, with both wit and compassion, of the commonly felt human debts and costs that underlie even the most epic of our histories.

Henry IV | by William Shakespeare | Directed by Dawn McAndrews | Produced by the Theater at Monmouth, through August 18 | Call 207.933.9999.

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