Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Re: Elizabeth Rex
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1578  Thursday, 24 August 2000.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Aug 2000 11:03:59 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Aug 2000 08:41:49 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Aug 2000 11:03:59 -0400
Subject: 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex

I saw "Elizabeth Rex" last week, and enjoyed it, in spite of our present
difficulties with the Stratford Festival regarding our location (we are
currently waiting for a response from the Festival based on recent
information we sent at their request, in case you are curious).

My enjoyment came more from production values than from the play
itself.  The costumes and sets were wonderful, the acting astonishingly
good, and the ensemble effort gelled perfectly.

The script itself, however, was weak and not fully developed - the
author Timothy Findlay, a venerable Canadian author who resides here in
Stratford, introduces too many plot and motive threads and they never
achieve unity and coherence worthy of the actors on stage.  I am told
the play was not yet finished when they began rehearsals, and I am
certain it would have been considerably better had Mr. Findlay been
given opportunity to complete it on time.

The play itself introduces a range of historical characters modeled on
the real-life King's Players and is set in a barn on palace property the
night before Elizabeth's love Essex is to die (by her decree) for
treason.  The story interweaves themes of duty, power, love and
sexuality.  Unfortunately, many of the poetical conceits are weak and
the language does not always rise to the occasion.  There is the
addition of Irish actor Jack Edmund who clearly pleases Elizabeth and
sparks some sexual energy between them, but I found this thread
confusing, since Elizabeth was supposed to be in mourning for her
soon-to-be lost lover, and the subsequent Irish animosity to British
reign was unnecessary given the other political issues.  I would have
been much happier if Findlay had chosen not to remind us of this
conflict and concentrated more on explaining the immediate social
uprising related to Essex's death.

Diane D'Aquilla plays a formidable Elizabeth, and Peter Hutt's
Shakespeare is affable and approachable.  Brent Carver as the pox ridden
actor Ned Lowenscroft plays a compelling catalyst, and as an actor of
women's roles proves a perfect foil to Elizabeth's masculine power
persona.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick Shakespeare Multimedia Catalogue

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Aug 2000 08:41:49 -0700
Subject: 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1569 Elizabeth Rex

Enrique requested opinions on Timothy Findlay's play Elizabeth Rex,
currently the boards in Stratford, Ontario.  I saw it last Thursday.
Here is my impression, briefly, with much left out.  I'm glad Enrique
liked it.  Why have a bad time at the theatre?  Nothing here should be
construed as belittling his taste.  It is my reaction.

The nicest thing I have to say is that I enjoyed it as a night out.  I
was entertained.  Alas, I think the production is better than the play.
Findlay is too ambitions.  He sets up a lot of themes and doesn't have a
structure grand enough to explore them well.  The parallel with AIDS was
perhaps the most strained of all, or were the Irish troubles even more
of a reach?

I could not buy the premise, so nothing about the script really worked
for me.  It is the night that Essex is to be executed.  Queen Elizabeth
I finds herself trapped in a barn with Shakespeare and his company.  She
bears her soul totally to these strangers.

Yeah.  Right.

I could accept that others bared their souls in that barn, but her Maj?
If that doesn't work, it all kind of falls apart.  The show was
entertaining enough that I'm glad I went, but this play is for an age,
not for all time.  Having said that, the hostess of our B&B said that
all her guests thought it a great work of art, and felt privileged to
have attended the first production.

All the best,
Mike Jensen
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.