“New” Shakespeare Play to Premiere at Blackfriars Playhouse

February 7, 2005

The Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, VA, will host the world premiere ofQueen Margaret, a new conflation of four of Shakespeare’s best history plays, on February 22nd and 23rd, 2005, at 8:30pm. The play, which combines Shakespeare’sHenry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3andRichard III, is a roller coaster of love, death, and betrayal that spans continents and generations. Conflated and directed by Mary Baldwin University MFA student Megan McDonough,Queen Margaretrepresents the culmination of her three years’ work in the college’s graduate program in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance.

According to McDonough,Queen Margaretis not so much about the queen herself, as it is about the highly theatrical events that surrounded her life: England’s famous War of the Roses. “Margaret is not the focus, but the lens through which the greater story of the War of the Roses is told. It is truly an ensemble piece filled with passion, intrigue, battle, love, and grief.”

“I believe it is the best attempt ever at turning the unwieldyHenry VImaterial into a single piece,” says Ralph Cohen, Executive Director of Shenandoah Shakespeare.

“I would eat a live badger if it meant I could create a conflation this perfect,” says Staunton resident James Byrnes, “I mean seriously, teeth, claws, and all. That’s how good this play is!”

The play has already attracted quite a bit of attention in the Shakespeare community and several noted scholars are expected to attend, including Doctor Franklin J. Hildy of the University of Maryland and Doctor Tiffany Stern of Brookes College, Oxford University.

The cast includes Angianna Barbera, Rick Blunt, Francis R.T.M. Boyle, J.L. Byrnes, Anna J.L. Christiansen, Zan Gillies, Brandon Ketchum, J.E. Knowlton, Katherine Mayberry, Jason A. Narvy, Eve Speer, and Ginny Weckstein.

Admission to the performance is free.