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Mary Stuart

by Friedrich Schiller, in a new version by Peter Oswald

Hurrah for two amazing female roles! This is a play ripe with intrigue, plotting, suspicion.. you know, politics. The most anticipated moment, however, is the meeting of Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth. When it arrives, it proves well worth waiting for.

Mary Stuart is a modern verse play. Yes, it is poetic, but the poetry enhances the world of the play and heightens the drama. We see the world through the eyes of the prisoner, Mary, and the ruler, Elizabeth. Surprisingly, they don't differ much. Both are full of fear, as was the norm of the time. Both women are Queens and testing the waters to see where loyalties lie. Unfortunately for them, the men surrounding them have shifting loyalties and their own advancement to think of. This leaves very shaky ground for our main characters to walk upon.

Much of the play is setting up the fateful meeting of the two crowns. Those on Mary's side encourage the encounter, sure that upon sight of her, Elizabeth will sympathize with Mary. Those on the side of Queen Elizabeth are less in favor. Elizabeth, knowing it will look badly for her if she puts Mary to death publicly, would rather something be done with the prisoner in quiet. She attempts to give unspoken signals to her servants and finds one responsive - Mortimer... or so she thinks. He tells her not to worry about how things look, to which she responds:

                                                 The world
Thinks through its eyes, do you not know that, knight?
Everyone judges by appearance, no one
Bothers to fathom the realities.

She departs their meeting believing that she finally found the man to take out Mary. Grateful, she instructs him:

                                                 Tell yourself
That silence is a sign of satisfaction,
And that the truest and the best connections
Are often those that must remain most hidden.

Little does she know, Mortimer has other plans. In fact, his dream is to free Mary, whom he loves. Mortimer's father, seeing the way the Queen spoke to him, fears for his son. He urges him:
Don't pay for anything with everything. Hold onto your conscience!
Such is the world at court - in a word, dangerous.

Without revealing the end action, I will assure that the two women, strong-headed and passionate, fight for what they believe and don't back down easily. This play is brilliant and I hope you'll take the time to check it out. I trust it will be performed often now and in about five or so years when I can play the roles!

Tomorrow's Play: Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would have loved to see this performed somewhere. There are some very powerful lines/scenes that would make for great theatre.

Doc Amor


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