October 8 - 16, 7:00 p.m.
Loeb Experimental Theater
Directed by James B. Danner ’12
Produced by Michael D. Cherella ’11
Given the state of today’s docile British monarchy, it seems unlikely that a queen would kill her own cousin out of fear, suspicion, or greed. Yet, in Friedrich Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” these issues directly motivate Elizabeth I’s struggle to decide the fate of her estranged relative Mary, Queen of Scots.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club’s production of “Mary Stuart” will transform the Loeb Experimental Theater into a space where characters can aspire for freedom, political power, and perhaps even redemption.
Elizabeth has reason enough to fear her fellow monarch, as Mary has already murdered her husband before seeking asylum in Elizabethan England.
When the production begins, Mary is already Elizabeth I’s prisoner and fully aware that her cousin will likely sentence her to death.
“We all know that she is going to die, and yet it is so desperately moving,” director James B. Danner ’12 says.
The unusual prominence of female characters struck Danner when he first chose to direct the play. “It’s great to be able to do a show that has female characters that are characters before they are women,” he says. “They’re not terribly feminine but that’s part of why I loved it.”
Additionally, the play’s departure from history renders its characters more sympathetic and, thus, more relatable. “It’s about real people: revenge, insecurities, characters who are flawed,” says Jacqueline J. Rossi ’12, who plays Elizabeth I.
While the characters may seem relatable in their flaws and insecurities, neither Mary nor Elizabeth is a typical heroine with whom to identify. “Neither one of them is totally innocent,” Rossi says.
Rebecca E. Feinberg ’13, who plays Mary, says of her character, “She knows ultimately that she will never be forgiven for the sins she’s committed.”
In this setting of revenge, murder, and greed, the hope of redemption and moral fortitude nevertheless persist. Danner expects that these themes will readily translate to the stage in this production.He says, “They come together in a wonderfully human way.”
—John P. Aloian