The Play

Today, just a question about The First Part of Henry the Fourth:

How do you handle the tonal shift within the “play extempore” (II.iv.268)? Does it grow slowly darker with the “king” Hal’s catalog of Falstaff’s faults, with Falstaff’s plea becoming more and more desperate? Does it stay light and fun, right up to “I do. I will” (II.iv.466)? Is even the “I do” a joke to the tavern audience, with a whispered “I will” coming in an embrace of Falstaff, as the tavern scrambles with arrival of the sheriff?

How would you play it?

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