Belfast Telegraph

Rebecca delivers real Crown jewel

By Grania McFadden

Market Place, Armagh, Tomorrow, 8pm

“I have the heart of a man, not a woman, and I am not afraid of anything.”

So said Elizabeth I, Gloriana, the Virgin Queen. The only daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she was exiled after the execution of her mother.

When she eventually took the throne, she reigned over what many perceive to be the ‘golden age’ in English history.

The country expanded its trade overseas while at home Spenser, Shakespeare and Marlowe led the renaissance of the arts.

The queen remained alone, refusing to marry, determined to remain in charge of her destiny until the very end.

But what did she really think? Who was Elizabeth underneath that ghostly pallor and fiery hair? Actress Rebecca Vaughan sets out to find the person beneath the crown in her one-woman show I, Elizabeth, which was a majestic hit at the Edinburgh Festival.

Directed by Guy Masterson, Vaughan uses only words spoken by Elizabeth to explore her thoughts on marriage, succession, religion and war. She gives voice to Elizabeth’s struggle to reconcile the desires of womanhood with the duties of sovereignty.

In a show that lasts little over an hour, Vaughan demonstrates the passion and power of the Tudor Queen, as she argues for her faith and against her marriage, and always puts her country first.

We’re all familiar with portraits of the haughty Elizabeth.

Vaughan reveals her to be intelligent, emotional and remarkable.

A woman who, if you cut her, bleeds, although her blood is blue.

For tickets see www.marketplacearmagh.com.

Belfast Telegraph

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