• Findley’s character-driven drama riffs on two historical facts: Queen Elizabeth I sentenced her former lover to death for treason, and the night before his execution, the Virgin Queen attended a Shakespeare play. In Elizabeth Rex, Findley imagines said play as Much Ado About Nothing, and that Shakespeare (Kevin Gudahl) and his rogue band of actors are forced to take shelter in the royal stables due to rioting and an imposed curfew. In great need of distraction, the Queen herself (Diane D’Aquila) visits the actors – and ends up in an all-night battle of wits with Ned (Steven Sutcliffe), who plays the role of Beatrice in Much Ado and whose own looming death of syphilis has liberated him from the filters demanded by polite society.
    • The art of acting is all-consuming, with a constant dichotomy of connection (absorbing the audience in a moment) and distance (you’re not really your character – or are you?). No wonder the Queen seeks out Shakespeare’s troupe: she’s ultimately connected to the nation as she controls everyone’s fate, yet literally no one can touch her without permission. When one gives everything – in politics, in love or in art – what is left? As the smart and all-around superb Elizabeth Rex proves, the answer can be found in one word: more.

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