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A Singer's Notes by Keith Kibler

A Singer’s Notes 140: The Last Wife, by Kate Hennig; directed by Kelly Galvin – WAM Theatre at Shakespeare & Co.’s Bernstein Theater

Kate Henning's The Last Wife by WAM: Nehassaiu deGannes as Kate, John Madden as Henry VIII, David Joseph as Thom.
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Kate Henning's The Last Wife by WAM: Nehassaiu deGannes as Kate, John Madden as Henry VIII, David Joseph as Thom.
Kate Henning’s The Last Wife by WAM: Nehassaiu deGannes as Kate, John Madden as Henry VIII, David Joseph as Thom.

The Last Wife, by Kate Hennig; directed by Kelly Galvin – WAM Theatre

I have been a fan of Kelly Galvin ever since her wonderful performance as Madame de Tourvel in Dangerous Liaisons with Shakespeare and Company, years ago. The detail alone in Ms. Galvin’s performance was stunning. Even more impressive now is her direction of Kate Hennig’s The Last Wife, produced by WAM Theatre in Shakespeare and Company’s Bernstein Theatre. The simple set focused our attention—a simple backdrop, a pull-out bed with ample drawers. These drawers were used in ways that moved me, partly the quick changes, but mostly the hidden-ness. The plot itself is chaotic. One never knew what to expect when the next drawer was opened, and this was good. Best of all were the quiet scenes. The superb acting of Nehassaiu deGannes as Kate (Catherine Parr), the last wife of King Henry VIII, was lyrical. John Hadden as Henry was brilliant in his constant changing. David Joseph as Thom (Thomas Seymour, her second husband) made a small role believable.

Chaos was the subject. It is ever thus when one person has supreme power. The laughter was frightening. Ms. deGannes, always coming around with a balm to calm, never gave up. Constantly changing costumes kept us uneasy and made us watch. What was going to come out of the next drawer, and who would wear it? Still, there seemed to me a deep bond between the two main characters. The play was long, but necessarily so. A kind of intimate epic, by the end its shape held me, beguiled me. Many thanks to Director Galvin and to WAM Theatre.

About Keith Kibler

Twice a Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, Keith Kibler’s doctorate was earned at Yale University and the Eastman School of Music. He is one of the region’s most sought after teachers with students accepted at the New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Peabody and Hartt Conservatories, the Tanglewood Institute, and the Aspen Music School. Keith Kibler is an adjunct teacher of singing at Williams College.

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