textbeheadings/ElizabethR to Receive World Premiere at The Folger

Aug 17, 2015

Folger Theatre starts the 2015/16 season with a limited engagement of texts&beheadings/ElizabethR, a world premiere play which explores England's Queen Elizabeth I. Produced in conjunction with the international theater collective Compagnia de' Colombari, the play is created and directed by Karin Coonrod (Henry VI at the Public Theater and Julius Caesar at Theatre for A New Audience) and will be presented as a part of Washington, D.C.'s city-wide Women's Voices Theater Festival. texts&beheadings/ElizabethR is on stage at Folger Theatre for 16 performances, September 19 - October 4, 2015.

texts&beheadings/ElizabethR examines the life and language of Shakespeare's queen, Elizabeth I. Drawing in part from the Folger collection, this devised theater piece uses Elizabeth's own words to reveal her wit, courage, and extraordinary love of her people. Through poems, prayers, and private letters, punctuated by movement, a diverse quartet of actresses-Monique Barbee, Ayeja Feamster, Juliana Francis-Kelly, and Cristina Spina-capture the style and essence of the iconic monarch. Following the play's premiere at Folger Theatre, it will go to the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of The Next Wave Festival.

This theatrical journey imaginatively mingles passages from Elizabeth R's letters to family and confidantes, proclamations for court, magisterial edicts, and private diary entries and poems-recordings of losses as well as triumphs from many phases of her storied life. Elizabeth's writing shows extraordinary skill in many languages. At a young age, Elizabeth was said to have mastered six languages. Celebrated Italian actress Cristina Spina presents Elizabeth's words in Italian; other passages are spoken or sung in Latin.

"Having had the pleasure and privilege to become immersed in Elizabeth I's wordplay, we ae very excited to bring the secrets of our findings to an audience," stated Karin Coonrod. "Elizabeth takes what she is handed and creates a world where the greatest poets breathe. Catching her spirit enlarges our own experience."

The award-winning creative team for texts&beheadings/ElizabethR includes John Conklin (dramaturgy and scenic design), Gina Leishman (composer), Oana Botez (costume design), Peter Ksander (lighting design), and Adrian Silver (movement).

"This compelling staging of Elizabeth I's words-some of them in their original form in our own Folger collection-is a rare and wonderful premiere for the important Washington-wide Women's Voices festival," said Folger's Artistic Producer Janet Alexander Griffin. "With this imaginative devised piece, perfect in our Elizabethan-styled theatre, we experience both the visionary voice of Karin Coonrod, one of today's most intriguing, international theater artists, and that of Elizabeth R, a monarch unparalleled in her impact on the English-speaking world."

Ticketing Information & Performance Dates:

texts&beheadings/ElizabethR plays at Folger Theatre for 16 performances only, from September 19 - October 4, 2015. Tickets are $35 and now on sale. $30 tickets for students, groups, and WVTF discount pass holders may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/theatre.