Luigi Pirandello’s Tragicomic Masterpiece “Henry IV” Comes to Stansbury Theatre

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello’s tragicomic masterpiece “Henry IV” will be staged Oct. 27-29 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Performances are at 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 29. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens/students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

A study in madness, the play follows an Italian aristocrat who, at a historically themed party, is thrown from his horse and comes to believe himself to be the character he portrayed — Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor — setting off a near-20-year hoax, complete with a recreated throne room and attending knights. Di Nolli, the aristocrat’s nephew, pays a visit seeking to fulfill his mother’s dying wish that “Henry” finally be cured of his delusion.

“It’s a great privilege to introduce my students and the larger community to a play that examines such complex questions with humor and striking theatricality,” said Timothy X. Troy, professor of theatre arts and J. Thomas and Julie Esch Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama, who will direct the production.

The play features costuming by new department designer Karin Kopischke, a 1980 Lawrence graduate, who mixes the latest Italian fashions with all the trappings of an 11th-century German king.

Senior Kyle Brauer plays the title character madman and sophomore Madeline Bunke portrays Matilda, who spurned Henry’s love before his accident. Senior Hannah Kennedy plays Frida, Matilda’s daughter, whose resemblance to her mother plays a key part in the family’s attempt to restore Henry’s sanity.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.