November 4, 2010

Royal Gambit Runs One More Weekend

Second-Stage Telling of Historical Tale

By Rachel Judy

The tale of England's King Henry VIII and his six wives is familiar to even casual students of history. While Henry's perspective is familiar, it is his six wives who take center stage for Regent University's Second Stage production, Royal Gambit, which premiered on Friday, Oct. 29.

In his quest for a male heir to secure his family's succession on the throne, the king sifted through his wives looking for one who would produce an heir. The fate of the women is perhaps best described in the rhyme taught to English schoolchildren: "divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived."

In Regent's production, the collective stories of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Katarina of Aragon, Anna of Cleves, Kate Parr and Kathryn Howard are portrayed by a combination of undergraduate and graduate theater students.

As the wives' collective story unfolds, it becomes a compelling metaphor for the transformation of civilization's age of faith to the age of reason and the central moral issues involved in that change.

"It's interesting because the play is not just a historical drama, but makes Henry the prototype for mankind as he journeys through various ages of thought," explained Christopher Graham, the play's director and also a 2009 graduate of Regent's MFA Theatre program. "This play has 500 years of drama, comedy, philosophy, theology and history all rolled into about two hours."

"The six women, their lives and unfortunate deaths, make up the meat of the story," Graham added. "Each has her own struggle as she attempts to survive in a world revolving around the willful king. Some survive better than others."

While providing a look at the wives and their stories, Royal Gambit challenges the audience to consider God's existence, His power and His relationship with man.

The play runs from Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 4-7.

Purchase tickets at the Regent Box Office.

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