BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
ADAPTED BY JEANNIE O’HARE
Directed by Philip J. Hickman
July 16 – August 9, 2020
Thursdays through Sundays @8pm
Schiller Park Amphitheatre
Queen Margaret is a new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays, focusing on the life and story of Queen Margaret of Anjou, one of the most powerful women of her era. The casting is intentionally non-traditional, especially in that several of the key roles have here been written with female pronouns. Many of the actors play multiple roles.
QUEEN MARGARET (f, 30-50)- Margaret begins as the young queen of England, torn between her loyalty to her French homeland and her new husband’s kingdom. She is savvy and ambitious, protective of her family and position. She is as capable of brutality and cruelty as she is of wit and charm. Onstage for the majority of the play. Requires weapon use on stage.
YORK (f, 30-60)- She is the Duke of York, one of the most powerful nobles in England. She believes that she has a better right to the throne than King Henry VI, and is willing to go to war over the crown when Henry proves to be a poor king. She is the mother of Edward, Richard, and Rutland. This role requires the ability to cry on stage, stage combat, and has an on-stage death scene. Will need to sit for a head prop modeling session.
JOAN OF ARC (f, 15-20)- The French heroine and mystic who drove the English out of France. Executed under the authority of York. Joan’s spirit/memory provokes and motivates Queen Margaret, acting as a kind of conscience for her.
HUME (f, 25-65)- Queen Margaret’s English secretary and spy. She can operate in the court environment, but also among the common people. Hume is deceitful and sneaky, pragmatic and imaginative. The sort of person you want working for you, not against you. Directly addresses the audience multiple times as a bridge between sections of the play.
WARWICK (f, 30-60)- Headstrong and aggressive, Warwick is York’s strongest ally. She speaks her mind and is not afraid of conflict, even when it is dangerous or impolite. Requires stage combat ability.
KING HENRY VI (m, 35-55)- Henry is the King of England, crowned as a child. He is formerly a claimant to the French throne. Very pious, Henry has a mind that wanders off of his duties onto religious subjects and daydreaming. A good man and a bad king. On stage death.
PRINCE EDWARD (m, 17-25)- the Prince of England, son of Margaret and Henry. He is a staunch supporter of his mother’s leadership, outspoken and self-assured. This actor also plays BAGOT, a working-class blacksmith, and RUTLAND, York’s youngest son. This actor needs stage combat ability, and has two on-stage death scenes.
SUFFOLK (m, 25-50)- Suffolk is one of King Henry’s supporters. He works hard in the court to keep peace between the King and York, as well as generally trying to give wise counsel to all parties. This actor also plays CLIFFORD, a supporter of Henry and Margaret who functions as an assassin. This actor must be able to use weapons on stage.
GLOUCESTER (m, 50-70)- King Henry’s former regent, a proud and loyal older man who has spent his life serving the crown. This actor also plays TUTOR, teacher to York’s sons.
SOMERSET (m, 20-35)- Somerset is one of Margaret and Henry’s allies, who tries to support them during civil unrest. This actor also plays RICHARD, York’s son. Richard is scheming and aggressive, and he later becomes King Richard III. This actor must be able to use weapons onstage. Will need to sit for a head prop modeling session.
EDWARD (m, 25-40)- York’s oldest son, who supports his mother’s bid for the throne. He is level-headed and proud, later King Edward IV. This actor also plays the CARDINAL, the church’s representative in England, an advisor to King Henry. This actor will have stage combat.
SOLDIERS (any)- Up to two actors will be cast for stage combat ability, as well as playing rebels, citizens and others.