Historyonics Presents Sex and the Single Queen Suitors Lose, Audience Wins in `the Virgin's Love'

Article excerpt

It's hard to think of anything more private than a person's love life - but if that person is an important ruler, forget it. The private quickly turns out to be public and political.

That's how it is today, and that's how it was for England's Queen E lizabeth I. In its new offering, "The Virgin's Love," Historyonics Theatre Company explores conflicts of private passion and public policy that led the queen to remain unmarried.

"The Virgin's Love" makes the case that Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was the love of Elizabeth's life. Under other circumstances, they might have married. Things never worked out. First, he was married to someone else; then his wife died under odd circumstances, casting doubt on him. Even after Dudley's name was cleared, the queen's marriage to an English nobleman offered none of the possible advantages that marriage to a foreign prince could bring. Conversely, any such alliance came fraught with rivalries of its own. Maybe single really was better. The play drops strong hints along those lines. As always at Historyonics, the script is assembled from historical documents, this time by artistic director Patton Chiles, who also stars. Chiles doesn't force any conclusions, but her selection of material and her canny performance suggest a queen who saw definite advantages to single life and single rule. Chiles plays Elizabeth in a firm, friendly style. She and the other performers don't use British accents; it sounds strange at first, but director Larry Roberson has made a sensible decision. After all, it's an American cast, and who knows what English royalty sounded like 400 years ago. This queen sounds surprisingly familiar, less imperial than executive. …