As a 50th birthday challenge I decided to set myself the task of retelling ALL of Shakespeare’s plays using Twitter. Each play has to be told in under 50 tweets. This is ‘Henry IV, Part I’!
It’s an entertaining way of considering the plot and could be a useful activity with pupils. I’ll collect the lot into a short booklet when I’m finished. In the meantime here’s ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ in exactly 42 tweets…
1402. Henry IV wants a crusade but there’s trouble at home – Ed. Mortimer (English) captured by Glendower (Welsh leader); 1000 English dead
And there’s more: their ‘private parts’ have been chopped off. Even more – Hotspur not handing over Scots prisoners from Battle of Holmedon
Hotspur wants Henry to pay ransom for Ed Mortimer as he helped Henry to be King. Henry wishes his son was warrior-like …like Hotspur!
Cut to Prince Hal having a rare old time with drinking buddies including overweight, hard-drinking, womanising (larger than life) Falstaff
Hal suggest robbery 2 Falstaff. Ned Poins says Gad’s Hill’s the spot if u want to rob folk. Falstaff sleeps. Hal & Poins plan a joke…
After Falstaff et al commit the robbery they’ll (in disguise!) rob the robbers. Falstaff is bound to tell a tall tale about it afterward!
Then Hal makes a surprising speech – he’ll turn his wayward days around and he’s only behaving like this so he’ll look better in the future.
Cut to Henry IV meeting the Percy clan. He tells them he’s had enough. Worcester says they helped him become King. Henry tells him 2 get out
Worcester leaves (unhappy!) Northumberland tries to smooth things out then Hotspur says it’s a bit of a misunderstanding. It’s just that…
…a lord showed up on the King’s behalf at end of battle reeking of perfume and complaining abt the corpses so he told him to get lost!
Henry points out Hotspur STILL has the prisoners. He’s not paying the ransom 4 Mortimer and what’s more Mortimer’s married a Welsh woman!
Hotspur’s not happy: he thinks Mortimer (his bro-in-law) is a hero who fought Glendower (Welsh) one-to-one. King’s says that’s rubbish!
King goes. Hotspur’s keeping prisoners. Worcester says Mortimer is true heir 2 throne as Richard II said so. No wonder he won’t pay ransom.
Hotspur goes on and on abt how Percys have been dishonoured. Worcester’s got a plan but Hotspur doesn’t listen. His dad tells him 2 shut up
Plan: get huge army together and beat Henry IV. Percy says he likes a good battle. Cut to some carriers (delivery men with horses) bantering
Enter Gadshill (bloke not place) who is Falstaff’s co-thief. He gets tip off from his mate the Chamberlain abt some rich folk worth robbing.
Cut to thieves gathering at Gad’s Hill (the place!) Gadshill (the bloke) then appears. The King’s Exchequer (loads of money) are coming…
The gang (including Falstaff) rob the King’s men then Hal and Poins (disguised) rob robbers. Falstaff runs away! Cut to Northumberland…
Scene with Hotspur and his wife Kate. She says he doesn’t love her any more so he talks to a servant about his horse. Then he’s off!
Eastcheap tavern: Enter Falstaff telling huge lies about the robbery. Apparently 100 robbers robbed him. Egged on by Hal numbers get higher.
Finally Hal tells Falstaff it was just him and Poins. Hal gets message – return to palace: civil war. Hal needs to act out how he’ll respond
…to his angry dad. Hal pretends 2 B his dad. Falstaff pretends 2 B Hal. In short Hal (as Henry IV) says he shouldn’t be with such lowlife!
Ominously Hal (as Henry IV) says he’ll have nothing to do with Falstaff (as the Prince) Next the rebels meet in Wales at Glendower’s castle
Glendower bigs himself up. Hotspur (as usual) is hot headed and rude to Glendower. They get a map out and decide who gets what when they win
Hotspur says his bit isn’t big enough then there’s a bit of fun with Mortimer and his Welsh wife. She only speaks Welsh. He only English!
After a bit of singing and rivalry they head off for battle at Shrewsbury. All except Glendower who stays back with the wives.
Hal now at dad’s castle. Henry says that he (Hal) has clearly been put on earth to punish him (Henry) for his past sins…Rich II methinks!
Why can’t Hal be more like Hotspur? (but we know what Hotspur is up to!) Hal says he’ll prove himself by killing Hotspur. That’ll show you!
Hal gets his own troops (Prove it son!) then Sir Walter Blunt (messenger to King) enters 2 tell them there’s a BIG rebel army at Shrewsbury
Back 2 Eastcheap tavern: Falstaff tries to swindle hostess of tavern. Hal enters and tells Falstaff 2 recruit troops for his own company.
Rebel camp: Hotspur & Douglas tell each other how gr8 they are. Turns out Hotspur’s dad can’t make the battle and neither can Glendower.
Oh and there’s a HUGE army approaching and Hal looks great in his armour. Hot-headed Hotspur decides to have it out with them anyway.
Cut to road to battle. Hal sees Falstaff’s sorry band of soldiers. Falstaff has pocketed money from men not wanting to fight and instead…
…recruited this shower! Cut to rebel army camp. Hotspur still hot-headed despite offer of peace from Henry IV…says he’ll think about it
Worcester and Vernon go to King and say why they’re unhappy. Hal steps up to the plate and says he’ll have a one-to-one fight with Hotspur
Falstaff and Hal chat then Falstaff makes speech about ‘honour’ being nothing more than a ‘word’ (Spot the difference with Hal now!)
Back at rebel camp Worcester and Vernon don’t mention peace offer to Hotspur but do say Hal has offered a man to man fight. Battle ensues!
Douglas thinks he’s killed Henry IV but turns out it’s Blunt! More confusion. Hal wants Falstaff’s sword but all Falstaff has is wine.
Prince Hal saves his dad from being killed by the Earl of Douglas who then goes after Falstaff. Falstaff pretends he’s dead. Meanwhile…
…Hal has a one-to-one with Hotspur and kills him. Falstaff decides it’s safe enough to be alive again and stabs (already dead) Hotspur.
Henry IV wins the battle & orders execution of most of Percy clan but shows his caring side by letting the Earl of Douglas go.
Battle over but war not won. Glendower and Hotspur’s dad still have it in for Henry IV. Watch out for part 2!!!!!!!!’