A number of you may be aware that is was my intention to stage ;The 39 Steps’ next March. I have, however, now decided to postpone that until circumstances are right in terms of staging and casting.
In its stead I am proposing to start next year, and our 97th play, with Friedrich Schiller’s ‘Mary Stuart’. The translation I am currently working with is that provided by David Harrower who adapted our ‘Government Inspector’ from earlier in the year, a proven pedigree when it comes to providing readable and contemporary sounding adaptations of lines, far removed from the stately and stiff poetry of the 19th century original and yet carrying its heavy resonance.
The play is definitely in the serious and darkly tragic vein, it has, after all, been a while since we have done anything of that nature, but one with a little dark comedy and which provides plenty for actors to get their teeth into. It is my hope to evoke something along the lines of ‘The Crucible’ in terms of mood, an epic and impactful piece. This should provide plenty of opportunities in terms of costume, light and sound. Although I am aiming for a period feel it does not have to be authentic and I am currently considering a variety of approaches.
Below is a précis of the play as well as its dramatis personae. This list of characters is as guide only and in many cases there is flexibility with age and even possibly gender.
One of European theatre’s major plays, Schiller’s masterpiece hinges on a brilliantly imagined meeting between Mary, Queen of Scots – focus of simmering Catholic dissent- and her cousin Elizabeth, Queen of England, who has imprisoned her. Isolated by their duplicitous male courtiers, the women collide headlong, each wrestling with the rank, ambition and destiny their births have bestowed, against a thrilling background of intrigue, plot and counter-plot.  The meeting never happened but Schiller’s Mary redeems her youthful crimes through an ordeal that lifts her into the realms of spiritual serenity, while Elizabeth descends deeper into rage, revenge and deception.” Stirring stuff indeed.

Hanna Kennedy, Female, 30-69 MEDIUM ROLE
Mary’s nurse, devoted, spirited, and very protective.  Could be older than Mary but equally could be a confidante of similar or younger years.

Sir Amias Paulet, Male(though see below), 40-69, LARGE ROLE
Knight, guardian of Mary, a man of honor. With some adaptation and flying in the face of historical accuracy this could be turned into a female role

Mary Stuart, Female, 30-50s, LARGE ROLE
Queen of Scotland aged 44 , imprisoned in Fotheringay Castle (French and/or Scottish accent preferred)

Sir Edward Mortimer (Supporting): Male, 20-39 , MEDIUM-LARGE ROLE
Sir Amias’s nephew, young, zealous, and passionate, dedicated to Mary’s cause. Famously kills himself.

William Cecil, Lord Burleigh Male, 40-79 , MEDIUM ROLE
Lord High Treasurer, harsh, powerful, fiercely loyal to Elizabeth.

Sir William Davison, Male  30-59, SMALL(ISH)
Sir William is the Secretary of State, cautious and careful, made the scapegoat by Elizabeth

Earl of Kent, Male, 20-60 , SMALL, could be doubled up/female
An observing lord in the background of the action

Elizabeth I, Female, Playing Age  40-50s, LARGE
Queen of England, challenged by the great quandary of Mary’s execution

Count Aubespine, Male, 30-49, SMALL, could be doubled up/female
The French Ambassador. (convincing French accent required)

Count Bellievre, Male, 25-59, SMALL, could be doubled up/female
The Envoy Extraordinary of France (convincing French accent required)

George Talbot , Male, 30-69, MEDIUM ROLE
Earl of Shrewsbury, thoughtful and deliberate with a strong sense of justice.

Robert Dudley , Male, 20-64, MEDIUM-LARGE
Earl of Leicester. Politically and personally caught between the two queens, a complex role.

O’Kelly, Male 20-39, SMALL ROLE, could be doubled up
Mortimer’s friend

Melvil, Male 30-50, SMALL ROLE, could be doubled up.
Mary’s house steward. Devoted and kind, he has become a priest to hear Mary’s last confession.

Drury, Male, 20-59, SMALL ROLE, non speaking, could be doubled up
Mary’s second guardian

Burgoyne, Male, 20-59, SMALL ROLE, could be doubled
Another warder and keeper of Mary.

OFFICERS, PAGE, LADIES to be played by ensemble.

It is my intention to audition at 8:30 on Monday 8th December, whilst the excitement from ‘The Winslow Boy’ is still alive. Audition pieces and further details will be available in the next week