texts&beheadings/ElizabethR OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Perry
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    October 21, 2015
    Closing:
    October 24, 2015

    Theater: BAM Fishman Space / 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217

    Synopsis: 

    Her reign saw the rise of Shakespeare’s theater, but what did she have to say herself? Dissecting the persona of Elizabeth I through Joycean deconstructions of her letters, speeches, poems, and prayers, "texts&beheadings/ElizabethR" is Elizabethan drama in its most literal sense. Visionary Karin Coonrod and her international theater collective Compagnia de’ Colombari, working with designer John Conklin, cast four diverse young actresses as the different faces of the Virgin Queen. In a breathless game of hide-and-seek with history, mystery, and the theater form, this brand new work captures the rhetorical panache and ever-shifting essence of an icon.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF texts&beheadings/ElizabethR

    ‘texts&beheadings/ElizabethR,’ the English Queen in Her Multifaceted Majesty

    Ben Brantley

    October 23, 2015: And the movie stars who agonize over getting dressed for red carpet photo ops think they have it tough. Consider, please, the labor — and the layers, oh, the layers — that go into creating the illusion of supreme majesty as it was practiced by the woman who gave the Elizabethan Age its name. In a triumphant scene in the Compagnia de’ Colombari’s “texts&beheadings/ElizabethR,” a glittering mosaic portrait of a queen now at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, we are given a royal laundry list of every piece of apparel worn by its title character for a ceremonial appearance. So we have the underskirts, overskirts, stockings, bodice, farthingale, corset, wig, gloves, fan, jewelry. These accouterments are itemized with detailed period descriptions as three actresses mime assembling this wardrobe on the impatient form of a fourth one, Juliana Francis-Kelly, who stands tall on a tall chair within a flickeringly illuminated rectangle. (John Conklin did the sets, and Peter Ksander the lighting.) The clothes may be invisible to the audience’s eyes. But as Ms. Francis-Kelly staggers and then grows beneath each successive layer, we feel their full, oppressive weight, literally and metaphorically.

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