Elizabeth

By Dario Fo. Translated & freely adapted by Luke Devenish & Louise Fox


Listen to me talking about Elizabeth on ABC Melbourne's Conversation Hour with Jon Faine, here. (Jump forward 20 minutes)


Inspired by historical accounts, this adaptation of Dario Fo's play takes place  during Queen Elizabeth's final hours on earth. For eleven days she has "refused to be prone", in mortal horror of her bed. She fears that if she lays her broken body upon the sheets she will not rise again. By this, the twelfth day of refusal, she is mad.

Everything is seen from Elizabeth's cracked point of view, conjured up in her head. She is haunted by memories and gripped by paranoid delusions. She believes that William Shakespeare has channeled the events of her life into every one of his plays. But her facade of outrage at this notion is shaky.  She is secretly thrilled at the thought, believing that the immortality of Gloriana is assured, tricked up as the star of his shows.

Consumed by  misconception, Elizabeth sees a world that resembles the Globe Theatre.  What's more, her subconscious has conjured up Shakespeare in person to  both torment and beautify her.

Frightened,  flawed, ferociously foul-mouthed, and quite unlike any other version of  the Virgin Queen in popular culture, this all too human portrait of  Elizabeth - wildly veering from outrageous to heartbreaking in turns -  is what makes Fo's play such a true comic gem.
 


First produced by the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. Directed by Michael Kantor, and starring Julie Forsyth and Bille Brown.


Later produced by the Queensland Theatre Company at QPAC, Brisbane. Directed by Wesley Enoch, and starring Carol Burns and Eugene Gilfedder.


 

"This adaptation by Louise Fox and Luke Devenish is lovely, squalid fun."
The Age Melbourne Magazine

"I  recommend Elizabeth to audiences young and old: the young will be  entertained and the old will remember the good old days when theatre was about politics and sex and shocked you awake, bare arses, swear words and all!"
ArtsHub

"Kantor's  production is stunning: surely one of the most visually luscious works you'll see on stage this year, it achieves a classic simplicity that is unexpectedly faithful to the spirit of Fo."
The Australian

"Less  Shakespeare in Love or a Cate Blanchett opus than the Farrelly brothers  filling a textbook with poo jokes... Like the best of the Commedia  dell'Arte."
Sunday Herald Sun