If you’re in Chicago between now and January 22, or are close enough that you can get here with no difficulty, I strongly recommend you get tickets to Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Elizabeth Rex by Canadian playwright Timothy Findley. *
Findley builds his story on three historical facts:
- The Earl of Essex, a court favorite and rumored to be Elizabeth I’s lover, was beheaded for treason on Elizabeth’s order
- The day before he was beheaded, Elizabeth attended one of Shakespeare’s plays
- Men played women’s roles on the Elizabethan stage.
The result in a breathtaking riff on gender, power, love, poetry, and history. And it has a bear.
What are you waiting for?
* If you can’t make it to Chicago, track down the DVD of the 2004 television adaptation. Diane D’Aquila plays Elizabeth in both productions.