Welsh in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I

A few days ago, I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon and saw the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry IV, Part I.

My favorite part is when Owen Glyndwr’s daughter is on stage speaking Welsh. And, to top it off, I was even able to understand what she was saying!

And here’s a nice little speech from that scene:

But I will never be a truant, love,
Till I have learnt thy language; for thy tongue
Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penn’d,
Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bow’r,
With ravishing division, to her lute.

I’ve always been excited about seeing a production by the RSC, but having Welsh in it made the experience even better!

This was discussed at length in the old forum, Brooke relating to an excellent TV production. Someone might even be able to furnish a link but, yes, having Welsh spoken within the play adds a lot, doesn’t it?

Here’s a link to that thread on the old forum. It was almost two years ago!

There’s also another (older) thread there, started by someone in an American theatre company that was doing Henry VI and wanted to have appropriate Welsh (where the script just says “speaking Welsh”). http://www.saysomethingin.com/welsh/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4688&start=0

Thanks for finding these, Sionned.
They remind me of a very enjoyable production.

Two years ago… I remember that thread. Tempus fugit and all that.

" and all our yesterdays …"

I’m looking forward to seeing the current productions of Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 here at the Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. in a few weeks. I saw an ‘open rehearsal’ a month or so ago, and the woman playing Lady Mortimer did a good job with the Welsh, from what I could hear. I’m betting she was coached by the estimable Welsh actress Siân Phillips, who recently appeared as Lady Bracknell in the production of The Importance of Being Earnest that was playing during Henry’s rehearsals, or by Earnest’s director, Keith Baxter, who’s also a Welsh speaker!

I don’t know who wrote the Welsh for them, since there’s no dialogue given in the play. Maybe there’s a bit of language historically passed down from production to production?

I was just thinking that - I’m pretty sure the script just says “She speaks Welsh”, or words to that effect. Maybe the director just wrote some suitably Shakespearean lines for the part, and Shakespeare had originally had a Welsh speaking actress just say what seems right, because the audience won’t know the difference anyway.