by Alia Muhammad Radzi
Stories usually have beginnings and endings; and the perspectives of those stories are called narratives. It’s often easier to swallow what is given then question, which is perhaps why, we accept stories of the past with powerful female protagonist, written by male authors, ending in somewhat a tragedy. Therefore, I appreciate what Because I am Your Queen is trying to present to the audience, especially in this time where there is a rise in female representation and reshaping narratives.
I had high expectations going into this play. I had wanted to see this for quite some time as I was intrigued with the concept, in addition to loving productions in the studio theater. It is always interesting to see how the studio theater is modified to a more dynamic stage, rather than the traditional stage. As I had said earlier, I had expectations coming into the show, and because of that perhaps, I did not enjoy it as much.
In this inter-dimensional time scape, the queens are placed in a spa, hosted by a feminist movement leader and scientists, where they are meant to liberate themselves from the narratives of their authors. This, in turn, would propel the feminist movement, as the effects would reverberate across the continuum. The idea of the story impresses me, but by the end of the play, I am not convinced that these characters are liberated. The facets they go through, in my opinion, are not poignant enough when matched with what they have already gone through. I feel that to evoke realization from a powerful tragedy, something strong must take place to repel what had happened.
Then again, I do feel that I would have maybe enjoyed this play better if I had actually read the books where the characters are from. I am acquainted with the history of Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, and somewhat familiar with the Greek mythology of Medea, but besides that, I was perhaps going in blind. I do, however, really enjoy the performance of the cast. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, especially were both very powerful in delivering their performance.
All in all, it was a good play, but not my favourite. I did end up reading more on the characters after the play, which is always interesting.