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The King and the Tennis Ball


Pictured: Rafael Goldstein. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

By Bridgette Ramirez
March 12, 2018

Did you know tennis balls can start a war? Just ask King Henry. At the beginning of Henry V, the prince of France sends Henry an insulting message via a bag of tennis balls that he is unfit to be king and is better off playing games and goofing around like he did during his youth. The French prince’s taunt proves the final impetus Henry needs to declare war on France and make his claim to the crown.

Meanwhile, for Resident Artist Rafael Goldstein, tennis balls have played a big role for him long before he was cast as Henry. For years, he has incorporated a tennis ball into his warmup routine before rehearsals and performances.  “The tennis ball has always been a part of my process in the lead-up to a show,” says Rafael. “It helps when I’m memorizing a script, finding rhythms and such; keeps me focused on the moment at hand rather than planning what I might do in the moments to come; hones my reflexes, both verbal and manual; and definitely helps with stress-reduction.”

Who knew a tennis ball had so many uses?  An instigator of war, an object of scorn, and a lucky talisman for both Rafael and his character Henry, the tennis ball has never experienced so much limelight before.

Now returning from a brief hiatus, Henry V is ready to come back louder, stronger, and fiercer than ever. Buy tickets now!

Want a taste of Shakespeare before you see the show? Read Henry’s scathing response to the Prince of France after receiving the “tun of treasure.”

His present and your pains we thank you for
When we have march’d our rackets to these balls,
We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set
Shall strike his father’s crown into the hazard.
Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler
That all the courts of France will be disturb’d
With chaces. And we understand him well,
How he comes o’er us with our wilder days,
Not measuring what use we made of them.

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