“Mary Stuart” spotlights inequality

Mary Stuart

BYU-Idaho’s Theatre Department will present a story of passion, power and love between two cousins in the play, “Mary Stuart.”
Sarah Gardner, a senior majoring in theatre studies who is in charge of hair and makeup for the production, said the play is a historical drama about Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Stuart and the time leading up to Mary Stuart’s death.
“Part of the play is showing how important women’s fashion was,” Gardner said. “All the men’s costuming is modern, and the women are still in corsets, white makeup, and period-accurate costuming.”
Kendal Raleigh, a senior majoring in theatre studies, said she is playing the role of Queen Elizabeth I of England in the production.
“She was really unique,” Raleigh said. “She referred to herself as a king, not a queen.”
Raleigh said Elizabeth’s harsher side comes out in the play but her positive strengths can still be seen.
Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, according to the website, English History.
After her mother was beheaded, she was declared illegitimate and removed from the royal succession. However, once her half-brother Edward VI and her half-sister Mary I died, she ascended to the throne, according to English History.
“She’s very powerful,” Raleigh said. “She refused to marry because she didn’t want a single man to run her life.”
Lani Call, a junior majoring in theatre studies, said she is playing Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots in        the production.
“Mary has a lot of passion; she follows her heart,” Call said. “She is extremely intelligent — very much a queen.”
Call said Mary went to England to seek help from her cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth saw her as a threat, so Mary was put in prison. She was taken from castle to castle for 18 years of her life. Raleigh said Mary presented one of the biggest threats because many believed she should have been queen.
“The play portrays Mary as innocent, but historically, she was probably conspiring against Elizabeth,” Raleigh said. “She was the only one who could take Elizabeth down.”
Call said Mary was a queen as well and that she had rights to the English throne.
Raleigh said that one of her favorite aspects of the play is that the script talks about how condescending the men are. Even though Elizabeth is the queen, they still patronize her.
“The men naturally treat each other as equals; the women have to participate in extreme power struggles to remain in power,” Raleigh said.
Call said the two women have to fight for their identity, not only between each other but with men as well. She feels that Mary is constantly fighting to be queen.
“Mary can’t deny she’s a queen, but she has still fallen in love with men, so she is still tender,” Call said. “I feel that men have given her no room to be tender as a queen.”
Raleigh said she thinks the women in the play have to work harder to be in power and authority, whereas people do not question if a man is.
“It’s not that men are terrible,” Raleigh said. “There are some good characters that try to see the women for who they are, and that’s the starting point for equality.”
Mary Stuart will be playing Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 3-7 in the Snow Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $3 for students and $6 for the general public.
“These historical women are so strong,” Call said. “The audience will have to decide who wins in the end.”

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