Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yesterday I had the chance to see a wonderful theatre play: Mary Stuart. The representation was organised by the Brussels Shakespeare Society and took place in Schaerbeek. The playwright is Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, a very famous German writer and thinker of the 18th century. The performance I saw yesterday was a new English version written by peter Oswald; it was directed by Diane Gray (a seasoned actor and director within the Brussels’ English theatre community). The main actresses are Tracie Ryan and Ruth England, playing Mary and Elizabeth respectively. The play is divided in six acts, each of them set in a different place.

The story begins with Mary (queen of Scotland), being kept in jail by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, because she has killed her husband (it seems, however, that her reasons for imprisoning Mary are quite different: she is apparently afraid of losing the English crown). Mary is longing for her freedom, and hopes for a reprieve. But everything gets very complicated and everyone is preparing plots. A great moment is the meeting of the two queens, where Mary loses controls of herself and begins to insult Elizabeth (this confrontation did, apparently, never take place in reality). You can read a brief summary of the plot here: summary (wikipedia).

The performance was quite long: three hour, but it was so remarkable that it was too quickly over. The actors were very talented, even if their dialogues lacked variation during the first two acts (there was a lot of emotion, but there weren’t enough pauses and everything was said on the same tone: there was maybe too much emotion). The costumes, in addition, were quite pretty.
We were quite lucky to get places to this performance because we booked them quite late and everything was quickly complete. We had some difficulties to find the theatre were it was to take place, but we had a great time!

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