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Mary, Queen of Scots


Mary's Arms as Queen of Scots and Queen consort of France

 

 

Plays, Verse Plays & Musicals
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“The plays you have submitted to me show an ability to control the craft of playwrighting and a sense of character and the social scene.”

This reference, from the Old Tote Theatre Company Director, Robin Lovejoy,  to be included in the 1970 Playwrights Retreat, held by the Elizabethan Theatre Trust at the New England University in Armidale, led to the creation of both the Mews Playhouse and the Australian Theatre in 1971-2.

Alas, Poor Queen                * Also available on CD *

“The language is extraordinarily vigorous. The action is all peaks and no troughs save in one Ainslie Inn scene. You have some lovely phrases: “Advice can only mould a fluid purpose.”  Eric John Senior Drama Producer Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1961.

Prologue
Mary’s father died of the burden of living
saying there’s no guarantee my laws are obeyed.
The lords would rule. A king who acts the king
is an insufferable rival to their glories.

The Queen of Scotland, mother of Mary Stuart,
guarded the throne for her child away in France.
after the King died in  a war with his lords.
Now child is  woman,  and Mary of Guise is dead
As is her child husband, the King of France
so Catholic Mary goes home to her Protestant land –
French, alien, south sun to a northern murk,
a civilised flower to adorn a barbaric garden.

The Catholic clergy have been disinherited, sacked -
their churches, land, ornaments and gold
dissipated in welters of riot and arson -
the Catholic faith evicted, driven to Europe,
turned out of doors like a slovenly servant.
The Protestants are castigated by Preacher Knox ,
thick with the flames that once consumed his teacher,
scarred in soul by labour in the galley.
He fulminates of Papist plots besieging them
homing poisoned words in the minds of Scotland
and wishfully murders the Queen with frequent sermons
while she, tolerant, moves with care and quiet.
The people lend the Queen their love for peace
but peace in Scotland lives at the point of a sword
the crown’s strength the count of the blades to defend it.

(After some of her lords have driven her from the throne
she signs her abdication in order to save her own life)

Oh, my God, you see how I suffer from these people
whom I rewarded, fondled and exalted,
may it be your pleasure before my death
to see my wilful and rebellious subjects
brought to the same discomfiture and sorrow
and desolation they have now brought me.
May their histories come to a violent end
and all their households be forever accursed.

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