Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-30
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER Elizabeth Rex
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2019-06-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Timothy Findley

At: Oak Park Festival Theatre at Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Phone: 847-; $15-$35. Runs through July 21

Who knew that Queen Elizabeth I liked to slum it with lowly actors? Even one with visible sores from a sexually transmitted "pox" who had the audacity to challenge her womanhood?

These are some of the puzzling plot points in Elizabeth Rex, an overly analytical and historically dubious 2001 drama by the late gay Canadian novelist and playwright Timothy Findley. Last seen locally at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2011, Elizabeth Rex is now receiving a shaky outdoor revival by director Barbara Zahora for Oak Park Festival Theatre.

Elizabeth Rex oddly begins with William Shakespeare ( Michael Joseph Mitchell ) waxing poetical on the details of his own death. Then Shakespeare questions how to dramatize an extraordinary moment in 1601 when Queen Elizabeth I ( Wendy Robi ) supposedly got all chummy with his acting company, The Lord Chamberlain's Men.

The flashback show the aftermath of a royal command performance of Much Ado About Nothing. The actors are all sequestered in a barn due to a curfew imposed on the eve of the execution the Earl of Essex, the Queen's former favorite, who led a failed uprising against her.

Actually it was Richard II that was performed. Historical records show that Essex's cohorts had paid for a Globe Theatre revival of Shakespeare's history play about the usurped king right before the coup attempt to rally supporters. So the next royal performance of Richard II was a way for the Queen to show that she had her eyes on Shakespeare's company.

Rather than explore this tense conspiracy angle, Findley imagines a too-relaxed meeting of the Queen with Shakespeare's company to question gender dynamics of men playing women on stage and women ruling as monarchs. Findley also goes out of his way to draw very obvious parallels to the 20th century AIDS crisis via the imaginary and flamboyantly gay actor Ned Lowenscroft ( Niko Kourtis ), whose devil-may-care behavior is tied to his failing health and grief over his deceased military lover.

Alas, all of this analysis doesn't make for compelling drama. Aside from Robi's witty and steely Elizabeth I, Zahora's acting company largely flounders with Findley's stop-and-start script that falls back on Shakespearean recitations to give it a level of grandeur that is lacking elsewhere.

Elizabeth Rex does boast glorious period costuming by designer Rachel Lambert, plus a handsome barn set by designer Nicholas James Schwartz. Yet some of the lighting shifts by designer Avi Sheehan were too choppy and confusing.

Elizabeth Rex does explore some interesting concepts on gender and power. But as a drama, it's far too intellectualized to be compelling theater.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

YEPP fall fundraiser Nov. 13 at Theater Works 2019-11-10 - Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) will hold its inaugural fall fundraiser, "Rise Up: A Celebration of Resilience" Wed., Nov. 13, 6-9 ...


Gay News

'Rip Nelson Celebrity Roast' Nov. 9 2019-11-08 - Hell in a Handbag Productions will present its annual benefit, The Rip Nelson Celebrity Roast, on Saturday, Nov. 9, 6-11 p.m., at Ebenezer ...


Gay News

Pride Films and Plays' "The Christmas Foundling" cast announced 2019-11-08 - Cast announced for Pride Films and Plays production of Norman Allen's THE CHRISTMAS FOUNDLING, opening to the press on December 7 and playing ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Laura and the Sea 2019-11-08 - Playwright: Kate Tarker At: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Ave.. Tickets: RivendellTheatre.org 773-334-7728; $38. Runs through: Dec. 8 "The mind is ...


Gay News

Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths opens Dec. 7 2019-11-06 - CHICAGO ( November 6, 2019 ) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to bring back its steamy cabaret sensation — with ...


Gay News

Drag star's "All I Want for Christmas is Attention" tour Dec. 10 2019-11-06 - Seattle sisters and drag superstars BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon have joined forces once again to present a new holiday extravaganza, All I Want ...


Gay News

Oscar 2020 kickoff party Nov. 13 2019-11-04 - The "A Night With Oscar 2020" kickoff party—featuring a Chicago ball scene talk back—will take place Wed., Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. at ...


Gay News

'Drag Race' alums bring holiday show to Chicago Dec. 10 2019-11-03 - Drag queens and RuPaul's Drag Race alumni BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon have joined forces once again to present a new holiday extravaganza, "All ...


Gay News

'Boys in the Band' starting Jan. 29 2019-11-03 - Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd., is presenting Mart Crowley's groundbreaking play, The Boys in the Band, directed by Playhouse Associate ...


Gay News

Internship applications being taken at Oak Park theater 2019-11-03 - Oak Park Festival Theatre is accepting applications for summer internships. Every year, 10-15 young people are accepted into the internship program from across ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.