Jessica Goforth joins The Passion of Boudicca as the Queen herself. Also called the Lady Suffolk (though not to her face, if you’re wise), Boudicca is a sovereign and commander who prizes her dignity very highly. There are many among her enemies and even her allies who cheer the thought of her humiliation or defeat. Yet despite this, she builds an enormous coalition of Britons from across several borders and unites them against a single, oppressive foe.
“Is’t boasting to say I am a Queen?”
‘You can see Jessica *right now* in The Rover with BYOT Productions. Past credits include The Tempest, Oliver! and Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead with Saint Sebastian Players, Just Like Us with Vision Latino Theatre Company, Measure For Measure and Richard II with The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, The Wind in the Willows with Theatre-Hikes, The God Committee, The Actor’s Nightmare and Black Comedy with James Downing Theatre and The House of Bernarda Alba with Circle Theatre. Jessica has a B.A. in Theatre and Communications from Carthage College. She is a board member with Saint Sebastian Players and an apprentice with The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company. She thanks We Three, Jared, Dennis and her family and friends for their support. Thank you for supporting live theatre!’
The Passion of Boudicca is one half of “Let Women War.” You can see it and The Wayward Women this September!
FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL
At Chase Park Theater (hosted by Fury Theatre)
4701 N Ashland Ave (2nd Floor)
09/07 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/08 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/09 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/10 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 5:00
09/14 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/15 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 7:30
09/16 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/17 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 5:00
09/21 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/22 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/23 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 7:30
09/24 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 5:00
09/28 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 7:30
09/29 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
09/30 – BOUDICCA, 7:30
10/01 – WAYWARD WOMEN, 5:00
THE WAYWARD WOMEN
All tickets are FREE!
The Wayward Women will be staged at Chase Park (4701 N Ashland) with the generous cooperation of Fury Theatre.
September 10 (5pm)
September 15 (7:30pm)
September 17 (5pm)
September 23 (7:30pm)
September 24 (5pm)
September 28 (7:30pm)
October 1 (5pm)
We Three is looking to cast the last member of our six-person ensemble for our September production of The Passion of Boudicca. We are seeking experienced actor-combatants.
The Passion of Boudicca is a new Elizabethan-style verse play following the military campaign of the legendary queen of the Britons, who sought to expel the Roman Empire from her borders.
All performers receive a token payment of $50, due no later than September 9 (opening weekend).
If interested, please send your resume to email@example.com.
All actors will be allowed to read the script before accepting their role.
As actor-combatants, the Ensemble will be principal participants in two-to-four alarum scenes (as our schedule allows). The actors playing Gaius and Mutius will participate in two other fight scenes with lead actors.
All violence will be managed by a professionally-trained violence director (Christopher Elst) and fight-captained by an actor selected from the Ensemble (Lana Whittington).
Time Commitment: Ensemble will be asked to meet between four and eight times in July, as schedules allow, to focus on alarum fights. Rehearsal time will also be made in August (no more than once or twice a week). The actors playing the 1st Briton, 2nd Briton and Roman Knight will be expected to attend any rehearsals dealing with their respective scenes. The actors playing Gaius, Mutius, and the sixth non-speaking role will be asked to attend relevant scenes at their discretion. There will be at least four full-runs before Tech, featuring the alarums, in the latter half of August.
THE PASSION OF BOUDICCA
Sarah Liz Bell, Sean Foer, Sabrina Harms, Kevin Johnson, Kate Lass, Lana Whittington,
All tickets are FREE!
The Passion of Boudicca will be staged at Chase Park (4701 N Ashland) with the generous cooperation of Fury Theatre.
September 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 21, 22, 29, 30
Curtain at 7:30pm
We Three are exceptionally excited to share that The Wayward Women will be returning to Chicago this September!
The story of two querulous knights in a post-war culture, The Wayward Women takes place on the Illyria-esque isle of Amosa, where women rule and men are the gentler sex. Cordelius, a foreign noble, and his servant Julian are stranded in this strange land, where they quickly become pawns in the petty machinations of Dame Anu, the Virtuous, and Dame Grendela, the Fartuous.
The Wayward Women will be running in rep with The Passion of Boudicca at Chase Park (4701 N Ashland Ave). All tickets are FREE!
September 10 (5pm)
September 15 (7:30pm)
September 17 (5pm)
September 23 (7:30pm)
September 24 (5pm)
September 28 (7:30pm)
October 1 (5pm)
Join us November 12 at 11am for a casual reading of The Passion of Boudicca, an Elizabethan-style tragedy.
DATE: Saturday, November 12
TIME: 11:00am to 1:00pm, with a discussion afterward
We’re looking to get feedback on how to improve the script, both as an exercise in Elizabethan drama and with a specific eye for production.
Queen Boudicca wished to maintain rule over the Iceni (who lived roughly in the Suffolk region) after the death of her husband, King Prasutagus. The Romans felt they were now the rightful owners of the region, and supported this argument by sacking her town, scourging her, and sexually assaulting her daughters. Boudicca countered this point by gathering the local tribes and completely kicking the nine shits out of the Roman army for several years. Taking its inspiration chiefly from Antony & Cleopatra and As You Like It (with a tiny sprinkling of King Lear and Henry VI), The Passion of Boudicca pits Pride against Love, Law against Integrity, and Nature against Individuality.
PLEASE BE FOREWARNED: This play deals (among other things) with sexual assault. It is not depicted onstage, but it does happen during the course of the play, and it is discussed frequently.
CHARACTERS (In speaking order)
Catus, a Roman lord (Read by JD Whigham)
Maeve, the Queen’s daughter (Read by Katy Jenkins)
Cassio Dion, a Roman captain (Read by Nathan Ducker)
Brigid, the Queen’s daughter (Read by Sarah Jean Tilford)
Tacit, a Roman captain (Read by Charlie Baker)
Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni Britons, sometimes called the Queen or Lady of Suffolk (Read by Jessica Goforth)
Scyllia, A Braggart, who tromps about the Leafy Wood (Read by Kaelea Rovinsky)
Paulinus, a Roman Governor (Read by Christopher Elst)
A Clown, called Modred, who lives in the Leafy Wood (TBA)
Helio, a Briton shepherd who lives in the Leafy Wood (Read by Kamron Palmer)
Ester, a Briton shepherd who lives in the Leafy Wood (Read by Gilly Guire)
Beatrice, a Foundling who fights in the Briton army (TBA)
Stop by the Public House Theater September 13th at 8pm. Guests include Jacob Saenz, Robyn Shanae, and Jared McDaris. Immediately following McDaris’ interview, The Wayward Women‘s Act 2, Scene 1 will be staged, featuring Adrian Garcia, Gilly Guire, Alexandra Boroff, and Katy Jenkins reprising their original roles.
As we all learned in high school (or earlier, if you’re lucky), a Tragedy is defined by its subject’s Fall, or reversal of fortune (or peripeteia, for the vocab buffs). The ancient Romans (and to be fair, Shakespeare himself) seemed to perceive no fall greater than death itself, but for the Greek ideal, there were fates worse than death, and the greatest Greek Heroes were those who recognized this, recognized that they deserved such punishment for their tragic flaws, and accepted their punishment rather than escape through death.
Elizabeth Bathory is, by virtually any metric, a selfish, merciless, parasitic, destructive person. She uses the commoners like animals (both for labor and for sustenance), treats the nobles with disdain, and shows love only toward those who are unequivocally in her power (and often not even to them). Despite all this, she is one of very few characters that is consistent in her own morality, and because of this conviction we can find a certain nobility in her tragic descent.
The play opens with Elizabeth, not at the height of her powers, but optimistic and possessing a clear trajectory toward victory. Her opening soliloquy (a parallel of Richard III’s “Now is the Winter of our discontent”) says as much: she is marrying Ferenc Nadasdy to seize his power and reputation. She succeeds by scene’s end, but the seeds of destruction have also already been planted. Despite her efforts, her husband has “infected” her with affection. Ironically (though I’d argue is a fitting reflection of our own times), it is Elizabeth’s capacity to love others, limited though it is, that ultimately leads to her destruction.
Even so, the first three Acts of the play are a fairly straight line upward. The Countess is presented with obstacles, and she readily overcomes them using various talents and tactics, especially the myriad complications of 2.2. For Elizabeth, the first half of our production is very much a leapfrog between displaying her social and political talents before indulging bestial desire for domination and blood. This then leads to the first-half climax, 3.4, where the Bathory is allowed to indulge both to her fullest extent: as a general in battle, ruling over massive bloodletting, proving her political and strategic might, demanding and securing her own will over everything. “Let none deny I am indominable” she shouts out into the torrents of death. She does not yet know that her husband Ferenc is dying an ignoble death a thousand miles away.
In Act 4, Agamemnon‘s prideful tread upon the purple carpet is paralleled in Elizabeth’s luxurious recline in red. Just when she thinks herself unassailable, however, mortality reasserts its heavy hand with the news of her husband’s death. One of the only two people she loves (excepting her divined self) is gone. She responds by upping the ante and insisting upon royal blood tonight,
“For that’s the tincture that will elevate
My sloughing flesh into Gentility
And make my vessel fast eternally.”
The Fall takes another soaring dive with the apparent betrayal by Kate (the other object of her love), and of course the appearance of the distant hand of King Matthias at last making itself known. In one proverbial swoop, Elizabeth loses her loves, her trust, her power, her reputation; and most damningly of all, these reversals ruin her bid for immortality.
It is endlessly intriguing that, just before her arrest, Elizabeth has the blood of two people available to her. To achieve godhood, she chooses not the royal-blooded Katalin, but rather the common and servile Kate. This, more than anything, suggests that Elizabeth has some other, secret desire in the consumption of blood. The fact that she chooses Kate’s blood suggests that Elizabeth saw something unique in Kate, and yet refused to take her blood before this moment. That, or that Kate had only then become something new, something divine.
Elizabeth has unquestionably lost everything in the final scene, when even a glorious death is denied her by the spite and pettiness of the so-called virtuous. However, this play is not just a story of a powerful person losing everything: it is the story of someone fighting to maintain their beliefs in the face of mounting temptation. “Damn hypocrites,” Bathory calls everyone else.
“You Devils have Beauty, wretches the Divine,
But I alone possess them both, both mine.”
In this speech, Elizabeth further implies that honesty is not possible (in others) unless all artifice has been stripped away, even to such an extent that one’s social abilities and natural beauty is destroyed. It may be that her love for Kate comes only because Kate’s capacity to charm has been forcibly removed.
King Matthias and Count Drugeth show that they are willing to say whatever they must, ally themselves to whatever ethics they need, in order to get what they want. Duke Thurzo appears morally consistent, but as he never does anything it’s difficult to say (it is incredibly appropriate that Thurzo, like the legendarily hesitant Hamlet, is dressed all in black). Petr Zavodsky is alone among Bathory’s adversaries in her moral consistency, but is so made by nature that Elizabeth can barely recognize her as human. Moreover, it could be argued that Zavodsky turns a deliberately blind eye to the King’s hypocrisy in order to achieve her own ends. This leaves the Countess alone as a morally consistent figure in a world that, regardless of its values, consistently abuses and dehumanizes the weak.
In Act 5, the King offers Elizabeth three chances to escape her tragic fate, if only she will admit fault. Such an admission, however, would make her just like everyone else, and remove all justification (in her own eyes) for her terrible actions. It would make every accusation true, and deny her the Divinity in her own mind that she was unable to assert on Earth. Rather than accept an extraordinarily easy out, Elizabeth chooses a slow, painful, drawn out, ignominious end. She will be slandered, forgotten, and any history will be written by her enemies. No one will understand what she perceived as the rightness of her own actions. Except herself. And that, it seems, is what mattered most.
Her enemies dismiss her as mad, but as the too-thoughtful Thurzo says,
“What else is there, when Madness is giv’n sway?
What else but Madness when the Law is honor’d
In Letter while its Spirit is broken? What
Betokeneth this World where Words are Vapor
And evanesce with their own Breath? What greater
Revenge can this Devil betake on us
Than leave us in this Hell we have created,
Where Men crack fang’d Smiles, and naked Throats
Will justify their opening to us.
I have no Wisdom, not a Tincture for it,
To purge this thorny poison from our Veins.
Be off, be thoughtful, all of us, and ask:
What greater Penitence can we be worth,
Than t’ see ourselves in th’ Monsters of the Earth?”
Petr Zavodsky is, by most measures, the hero of Countess Bathory. She doggedly pursues justice against the evil Elizabeth; she is motivated not by gold or personal vendetta but by moral right; she is of humble birth (something we’re supposedly really big on in the US); and she overcomes many obstacles, rebuffs, and outright humiliations to accomplish what is right. There is no one else in this play that actively champions a selfless cause.
Unfortunately, the structure of the story and the elements of our production depict poor Zavodsky as a villain, or even a mere villain’s henchman.
Petr is the opposite of Elizabeth in virtually every regard. Elizabeth is highborn, wealthy, in charge, motivatedly selfish, charming, beautiful, and possesses the self-awareness of how to use these considerable advantages. Petr is common, un-moneyed, an assistant, myopic in her motivations, guileless, rodent-like (thanks to a gorgeous performance from actor Sarah Jean Tilford), and has no idea how to apply the limited advantages these attributes afford.
But Zavodsky has right on her side, dammit, and she’s gonna push that as far as it can go. Sadly, no one seems to appreciate Zavodsky’s virtue. She is unpraised, oft mocked, and never acknowledged for her efforts nor even her eventual (arguable) victory. She seems to graduate at some point from Thurzo’s assistant to the King’s, but there is no official word, and she continues to be alternately threatened or bossed around, depending on where she is.
The fact that the sexless Zavodsky is reviled by both sides, dismissed and ignored, while everyone worships either the stereotypically “male” King Matthias or the decidedly “womanly” Countess Bathory, is a point I’ll leave largely to more educated minds than my own.
It’s lucky then for Petr (and for all the young women of Hungary) that this adjunct seems utterly unconcerned with how others view her. Humble, pious, and zealous in her persuit for justice, Zavosky’s only reward in the end is that justice is done. We should all be so fortunate as to have civil servants such as she.