Nathan Hamilton began his acting career auditioning for LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) with a Henry V monologue, so he’s now come full circle by performing in Antic Disposition’s Henry V Tour.
He explained that Shakespeare is the current focus of his career, he spoke passionately about the Bard and of previous roles such as Orlando in ‘As you like it’. When I asked about the character of Henry, Hamilton explained that he appreciates the depth with which he is written.
Whilst he is seen as a strong young man and brave leader, there is also a disclosure of his vulnerability and guilt. I learnt that this tour will feature a ‘play within a play’ element. Hamilton will play a private in the First World War, part of a group of soldiers sent away from the front line who decide to put on a performance of ‘Henry V’. Hamilton pointed out the range of this rendition of ‘Henry V’, as an actor, he goes from playing a private (the lowest rank in the army) to playing a king (the highest).
In preparation for the part, Hamilton talked about the Imperial War Museum being a “great source”, as well as watching Crimson Fields and other series. He confessed to be “one of these actors that loves to go over the script…again and again” to see what you can uncover, not only from Henry’s point of view but also the private in World War One. The most surprising thing he learnt about Henry V in his research, was that the portraits of Henry V are all in profile because he was shot in the face with an arrow at just sixteen and survived!
Hamilton explained: “with Henry, what’s been really enjoyable to play with, has been this sense that so much has been thrust upon him…so much responsibility and so many big decisions”. We can expect to see Henry grappling with decisions in court, but we also experience his inner thoughts in soliloquies.
To my questions about how he finds touring, Hamilton responded “I love it”, the “different audiences, different vibes”, it’s “something that I’ve always enjoyed”. He talked of one of the most iconic stops on the tour being the Salisbury Cathedral, where “one of the knights that fought at the Battle of Agincourt is buried”. Even more so, the tour’s last stop will be Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried, a “gift of an opportunity” that Hamilton anticipates will “probably be quite emotional”, as it ties in with the anniversary of the armistice”.
Antic Disposition’s Henry V tour runs 8th October to 16th November and is in Manchester 22nd – 24th October.