By Danielle Crean
Tamara Meneghini must have been put on this earth to portray the famous Queen Elizabeth, for her performance as the bold queen was spectacular. When we meet her, Elizabeth wants to be alone with us as she prepares for bed, near the end of her reign as the queen of England. She wears a glamorous gown, a curly red wig, and an elegant, extravagant pearl necklace. Little by little, she removes the articles of clothing until we’re left with what looks like an ordinary woman at the end of a long day.
Playwright Carole Levin’s clever script is aided by projected images of several people in Elizabeth’s life. Together we travel back in time and experience moments that shaped her into the woman she is now. This includes her feud with her cousin Mary, who became the queen of Scotland. Through letters written and received by Elizabeth, we get a look at how Mary challenged Elizabeth’s claim to the throne. Ms. Meneghini’s performance suggests that while the queen loved her people and always tried to do the right thing, sometimes that meant literally losing the people she once cared for.
Elizabeth never married nor had children, but there was one man whom she loved, Robert Dudley. As she recites Shakespearean quotations, we see in her eyes and hear in her voice, which breaks a little, how difficult the loss of Robert was for her. Throughout her story, she tries to justify the precautions she took when she executed people for treason against the crown. We hear about the war between Catholics and Protestants, and the malicious actions Elizabeth’s former friends took to overtake one other.
That all this happens in Elizabeth’s bedchamber makes for an intimate atmosphere, since the only people who saw Elizabeth before bed were her ladies in waiting. As she removes her royal clothing, she becomes vulnerable and expresses her true emotions and thoughts, without concern for being judged. A queen is expected to act and speak a certain way, but behind her bedroom door, she can speak simply like any normal person would. It makes us think how other famous and infamous people from the history books would seem if they, too, took off their masks and revealed their true selves.
“Elizabeth I- In Her Own Words”
Performed by Tamara Meneghini
Written by Carole Levin
October 30th, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Photo: courtesy of the production
2019 United Solo Theater Festival
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
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DANIELLE CREAN is an aspiring writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a degree in Communication Arts and Journalism. During her college career she was a writer and editor-in-chief for the Odyssey Online. She is also currently writing a novel based on her own personal experiences with mental health.