Two Queens, two kingdoms [by Sharu Delilkan]
With the recent revelry to mark the British Royals tying their nuptials I wasn’t surprised that The Maidment Theatre’s foyer was packed to the gunnels when we arrived.
But I soon realised it was because there were two sets of audiences in the house – those gearing up for the NZ International Comedy Festival show at The Musgrove Theatre and the rest who were anticipating the historic journey with Mary Stuart.
As we filed into the theatre we heard people whispering with excitement about the Outrageous Fortune’s stars – Elizabeth Hawthorne & Robyn Malcolm — about to grace the stage.
All the elements – the costume, direction, lighting, music and set – combine seamlessly to set the mood, the era and complement the actors on stage.
The story is replete with contrasts, freedom vs confinement, wanton living against regal duty, displacement and homeland, privilege and struggle, beauty and ugliness, …the list goes on.
John Parker’s set is both simple and impressive and has the versatility to represent the diverse situations of the two queens with ease. The choreography of the wrought iron partitions’ movement is royally executed while their see-through quality enables characters to lurk in the background as persuasive, jealous, ever on the minds and influencing the scheming decisions of the two queens.
Edward Peni on playing French, and the trials of making it as an Actor [by Sharu Delilkan]
It was all about being at the right place at the right time for Edward Peni.
He admits that he hadn’t considered auditioning for Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Mary Stuart until he bumped into Artistic Director Colin McColl.
“I had actually called the company to see if I could borrow some boxes for a production I was doing. While I was in the office Colin happened to walk by and asked me whether I would be interested in being part of their new production of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart. Naturally I jumped at the chance,” he says.
Mary Stuart is the thrilling account of the extraordinary relationship between England's Elizabeth I and her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth's rival to the throne.
Despite having done a number of smaller roles in the professional arena for the past seven years, Peni considers himself a very young actor. More so in the company of what he terms “luminaries of New Zealand theatre” – acting on the same stage with the likes of Stuart Devenie, Elizabeth Hawthorne, George Henare and Robyn Malcolm.