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The Tragical History of Margaret of Anjou: A Dramatised Reading

Date: Thursday 18 February 2016
Time: 1–2pm
Venue: Callaway Music Auditorium, The University of Western Australia
Contact: Bob White (bob.white@uwa.edu.au)

Free and open to the public. No ticket required

Download Event Flyer

 

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, performance historian Liz Schafer and dramaturg Philippa Kelly have carved a ‘new’ play by Shakespeare out of Henry V1 parts 1, 2, 3, and Richard III. Across the four Shakespeare plays in which she appears, Margaret emerges as an ‘Everest’ role, deserving to be seen on a par with King Lear. Margaret is revealed as ingenue, engrossed and hungry lover, passionate termagant, power-hungry, revengeful, bitter. She is the shrew who refuses to be tamed.

Shakespeare’s most feminist play, Margaret of Anjou, will receive a public, dramatised reading at UWA’s Callaway Music Auditorium. As Margaret matures from feisty princess to scheming queen, from cold-blooded killer to grief-stricken mother, from shameless adulteress to cursing crone, the hapless men who surround her are unable to withstand the fury of her ‘tiger’s heart, wrapped in a woman’s hide’.

Historian Susan Broomhall will speak briefly about the historical figure of Margaret, and the performance will be followed by audience discussion.

This is a reading of the ‘bad’ (short) quarto of Margaret of Anjou.

London Performance

Date: Tuesday 8 March 2016
Time: 2-4:30pm
Venue: 
Caryl Churchill Theatre, Department of Drama, Royal Holloway, Egham. TW20 0EX
Registration: 
This event is free but please register at: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/margaret-of-anjou-a-new-play-by-shakespeare-tickets-21079301759

To mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death Professor Elizabeth Schafer and Philippa Kelly, Resident Dramaturg at the California Shakespeare Theater and the Napa Shakespeare Festival, have pirated Margaret of Anjou from the Henry VI tetralogy and Richard III.  The result could change the way we see Shakespeare; it proves that he wrote a female role that is an ‘Everest’ on a par with King Lear. As Margaret matures from feisty princess to scheming queen, from cold blooded killer to grief-stricken mother, from shameless adulteress to cursing crone, the hapless men who surround her are unable to withstand the fury of her ‘tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide’.  This violent woman – the ‘she-wolf of France’ - led the Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses, and her feats, in part, inspired the character of Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. What better day to unleash Margaret than International Women’s Day 2016?

How will a modern audience, schooled in psychological realism, react to this termagant who in speech after speech demands, denounces and curses? the mourning Margaret, grieving for the execution of her lover as traitor; the Amazonian Margaret leading her troops into battle;  the monster taunting her defeated opponent, Richard, Duke of York before stabbing him; the raging crone, whose husband and son have been murdered;  the shrew who refuses to be tamed.   All are invited to come along and experience the premiere of Shakespeare's most feminist play.

This is a reading of the ‘good’ (long) quarto of Margaret of Anjou

Image: A. Bouvier, ‘Margaret of Anjou’, engraved by W. Joseph Edwards, in Mary Howitt, Biographical Sketches of the Queens of Great Britain from the Norman Conquest to the Reign of Victoria: or, Royal book of beauty, edited by Mary Howitt (London, Virtue & Co., 1851).