Saturday, June 10, 2017

Review of Her Majesty's Will at Lifeline Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Her Majesty's Will. It was adapted by Robert Kauzlaric based on the book by David Blixt, and it was directed by Chris Hainsworth. It was about William Shakespeare (Javier Ferreira) and Kit Marlowe (Bryan Bosque) who go on a mission together to save Queen Elizabeth from Catholic rebels (LaQuin Groves, Mike Ooi, Don Bender, and Martel Manning). This play reminds me a lot of fan fiction, which is a good thing, because it is a lot of fun to nerd out about Elizabethan playwrights. I think this is a really fun and conceptually intriguing show. I was always wrapped up in the story and interested to see how the relationships between the characters unfolded.

The set (designed by Eleanor Kahn) was really cool. It was mobile; many part of the stage could move around and become different things. It reminded me of Elizabethan stages because they made it so there were two levels to the stage and it was very simple but it wasn't boring. It could quickly change from being a carriage to the stage of Newington Butts (which is a very silly name) or a tavern to a bearbaiting ring. A place like The Globe didn't have elaborate sets either, so everyone would have to use their imaginations to feel where they were. So this set made you feel like you were actually at an Elizabethan theater. There was a character who was the Chorus (Heather Chrisler) who was basically the guide to the story and talked to the audience about what characters were thinking. It is very Elizabethan to have a Chorus, which is another thing they used to make the story clearer and show where scenes take place. I wish they had given the Chorus more to do, though, because I felt like it would have been nice to see more of a relationship established between her and Shakespeare because then the ending, when they are sad to see each other go, would have made more sense to me. I think it would have been helpful to have had another female actor so that they could establish more what each female character's role in the story was. She was good at playing different parts and distinguishing each one from the other, but I still think it would have been helpful to have another female actor to give the other one more time to play the Chorus.

Marlowe and Shakespeare were really adorable because they had this (for awhile) unspoken romance. They seemed to really enjoy spending time together and wanted to be more than friends, but Marlowe was slightly more open about it than Shakespeare was. I think Shakespeare was still figuring out his sexuality, and Marlowe was not. He knew who he was and who he was attracted to. And Christopher Marlowe was actually openly gay and people were more okay with that back then. I find it infuriating that we haven't really gone forward with our views over time because people have become less tolerant rather than more. One of my favorite scenes between them was when they stole a carriage and they thought they might have actually kidnapped the queen. They were talking back and forth about what the possibilities were of who was inside the carriage. Marlowe seems pretty cool about it because he knows what he is doing. But Shakespeare is freaking out because he is thinking of all the possibilities of who they could have accidentally kidnapped. They seem good for each other because they each have something the other hasn't. Marlowe has self-confidence in who he is and Shakespeare thinks through things and takes small steps before he takes a big one. The reason why they are such a good couple, I think, is because they teach each other about things. Marlowe teaches Shakespeare how to be a good spy and how to accept who he is, and Shakespeare teaches Marlowe about what love is. That is very corny, I know, but it is very true.

They had a lot of clever jokes about Shakespeare, jokes about how his life would pan out. People say he stole ideas for his plays and this play hints at that when Shakespeare says, after just seeing The Spanish Tragedy that was written by Thomas Kyd, who is someone he imitated, "I would never steal from anyone!" It was just kind of a playful wink. The Spanish Tragedy also sounds a lot like Faustus to me, which is pretty funny because that would mean that both Shakespeare and Marlowe were like, "Hey! You want to steal from this guy? " "Sure!" They also show you where some of the ideas for Shakespeare's characters come from. Like Sir Toby Belch and Falstaff seem to be based on Kit Marlowe's friend Robert Greene (Peter Greenberg) who seems to basically live in a bar, talk about how awesome his stomach is, and have a younger girlfriend. There was also a fool, Dick Tarlton (Dan Cobbler), who was another one of Kit's friends. He reminded me a lot of Feste who was another singing fool. He helps Shakespeare and Marlowe escape from the Catholic rebels, and you can imagine that Shakespeare might have put him in a play to thank him for what he did. The whole play was a lot like Twelfth Night. Marlowe disguises himself as a woman, so he's like Viola. Shakespeare is like Orsino because he is in love with Viola and finds out who he really is. Or maybe they are also Sebastian and Antonio. And there is a lot of adventure in both plays. Shakespeare's nemesis, Sir Thomas Lucy (Cobbler) reminded me a lot of Malvolio. The only thing that would have confirmed that for me is if he had worn yellow stockings.

People who would like this show are people who like Elizabethan stagecraft, adorable couples, and stealing from Thomas Kyd. I think that people should go see this show. It is such a fun experience. I really liked it.

Photos: Cole Simon

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