With Power Comes Fear
Deposed, imprisoned and powerless Mary, Queen of Scots represents everything that threatens the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The two women have much in common, having been manipulated by powerful forces around them, but only one can live. A thrilling fictional meeting is at the heart of Schiller’s play in which Mary redeems her youthful crimes through an ordeal that lifts her into realms of spiritual serenity, while Elizabeth descends deeper into rage, revenge and deception. Oswald’s striking adaptation in a mixture of modern prose and poetry is accessible and passionate.
Reviews of the play
"an excellent piece of writing in the technical sense - it’s expertly crafted so as to keep the stakes high at all times, to really create the claustrophobic world of the court... it is truly special to find not one but two such well-formed women in a historical piece like this." Fireside Theatre, varsity.co.uk
"At a time when world media is obsessed with the English royals’ pretty wedding frocks and resplendent pomp and ceremony, showcasing a perfectly dressed union of state, monarchy and church, Peter Oswald’s new version of 18th century playwright Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart takes us back to a time when having influence through power, religion, loyalty and monarchy, could literally be a matter of life or death...and shows us that time hasn’t changed one aspect of monarchy: that the world continues to judge by appearance, rather than reality." Kate Ward-Smythe, New Zealand Herald.
In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘Mary Stuart’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. Some of its themes call for gender specificity in certain roles.
February 2021-February 2022 was the 60th anniversary of the Criterion Theatre opening. Why not check out the wonderful interviews conducted so far with members reflecting on their favourite memories and stories about the Criterion over the last 60 years in our Criterion Memories project.