In the modern era of political wrangling and corruption, Temecula’s Shakespeare in the Vines is set to debut an historical portrayal of similar intrigue with the premiere of “Mary Stuart.”
“This is a work of fiction, but it is based on the real historical figures of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I,” said Director John Leon.
“The play explores the relationship between the two women and will look at who is really in power. I want to show the audience who really is influencing these powerful women,” Leon said.
Featuring such sad and sordid details as “espionage, attempted assassinations, prison breaks and lost love,” the play will have audiences pinned to their seats as it winds itself to the final three days before Mary Stuart’s beheading – a historical fact.
Leon said that while the play is not a history lesson, theater-goers will find striking likenesses to modern politics giving guests plenty to think on.
For Leon, one of the most exciting aspects of the show will be its intimate venue – the romantic cave at Europa Village Winery in Temecula.
“It’s what I call theater in the lap,” Leon said, noting the indoor seating is the first for Shakespeare in the Vines, typically known for its summertime outdoor performances.
“Audiences should feel like they’re in the middle of the play – that’s my goal,” said Leon.
Also unique to this production is that it is Shakespeare in the Vines first venture outside of Shakespeare’s own repertoire.
But that won’t stop Leon from incorporating some of the Bard’s famed traditions, including the use of audience asides and double-casting minor roles in the play.
Each member of the 12-person cast was handpicked, Leon added.
Ultimately, Leon said, when it comes to politics: “Nothing has really changed after 400 years.”
Written by Friedrich Schiller, in a new version by Peter Oswald, “Mary Stuart” runs at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15-17, 22-24 at Europa Village Winery, located at 33475 La Serena Way in Temecula.
To learn more, or to purchase tickets, visit www.shakespeareinthevines.org.
Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor of Southwest Riverside News Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.