Mary Stuart

Theatre (international, contemporary)

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What is Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart without men? Two actresses meet to rehearse a two-woman version of Schiller’s play. Problem: one speaks English, the other French. Problem: one is a seasoned professional, the other a novice. Problem: the director is MIA. As the rehearsal progresses, the legendary rivalry between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart seeps into the performers’ personal relationship. The lines between text, fiction and reality blur – will both actresses emerge unscathed? This bilingual production invites audiences to consider: what does it mean to be foreigner, Queen and woman in a world previously dominated by men?

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Alix A. 24 days ago

An impactful, chilling play interrogating the audience, the actresses, their communication, miscommunication, and places. The slips from actresses to characters and back were chilling, because unexpected, and brilliant in the execution.
Really enjoyed it, and I didn't see the time pass!

Madi Taylor 24 days ago

Summertide's "Mary Stuart" was a captivating piece of digital theater, superbly directed by Sean Hardy. The dichotomy and rivalry between the two actresses and the queens they portrayed was equal parts mesmerizing, tragic, and moving. Both Marie Colombe and Pauline were incredible in all facets of their roles. I was blown away by their ability to shift between their characters while slowly subsuming characteristics of their queens into their "regular" personalities. The acting was spectacular, and was enhanced by the format of the piece. The direction and digital format also lent themselves to the intimacy of this atmospheric setting and the two-actor play. The camera allowed us to get even more up close and personal with each actress and their emotions than we could in a theater, taking us aside to follow each character into their own headspace at turns. As the intensity of the play grew, the direction and camera reflected it, honing in on the tension through the actresses' physicality, facial expressions, tone, and distance from one another. I was completely enthralled and in suspense of how the ending would play out as the characters edged closer to violence! And the breaking of the fourth wall played especially well on screen, particuarly with the first striking instance mid-play and the chilling ending. This all doesn't even begin to touch on the powerful social commentary on feminism, the patriarchy, and the public eye in the piece and how well executed it was by both actresses - particularly in Elizabeth's moving monologue as she puts on her queenly (or kingly?) face. I had been eagerly waiting to see this show and it surpassed all of my already-high expectations. The biggest congratulations and bravo to the company for a remarkable performance!

Kian 25 days ago

“Mary Stuart” by Summertide Company was simply a stunning piece of digital theatre production. This French-language portrayal of the deadly rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots evoked in me a formidable sense of awe and astonishment. The hauntingly beautiful performances of the two queens by Marie Colombe Lobrichon and Pauline Prévost were captured and depicted meticulously by the excellent camerawork, staging and lighting throughout the play. The seemingly insurmountable cultural and language barriers existing between the two actresses in a rehearsal room setting also served as an effective contrast to the powerful psychological exploration of the two queens, their antagonistic relationship, and their political power struggle. Félicitations to Summertide Company for creating this captivating and emotionally gripping piece of theatre, and I eagerly look forward to seeing more of your artistic projects in the future.

Zoë 26 days ago

What an absolutely fantastic show — it kept me completely rapt for every minute! Marie-Colombe and Pauline are perfectly cast, and director Sean Hardy brought every nuance of their characters and talents to light. The questions the show raises about the power of language, gender roles, the changing reception of history through time, cross-cultural rifts, the pitfalls of academia, and the way we move through the world will surely stay with me for a very long time. As a former expat myself, I was deeply struck by Pauline’s portrayal of the eager interloper in a new country — I sympathized with Marie-Colombe’s annoyance, but also felt intense tenderness for Pauline’s bravery and tenacity in an unfamiliar setting. I also greatly appreciated how the show played with the necessities of an online Fringe, with Marie-Colombe especially engaging powerfully with the camera (she made me jump from the other side of the screen), creating compelling theater that made you forget you weren’t in a room with the actors. Run don’t walk to see this masterpiece before the festival ends!

Mouna 26 days ago

Que dire… je ne connais pas Mary Stuart donc tout est une découverte pour moi.

J’ai beaucoup aimé la dualité entre les deux personnages qui se transforme au fur et à mesure que la pièce avance en échange et en partage.

J’ai trouvé les dialogues riches et plein de sens, ils nous permettent de mettre en lumière le féminisme et de donner la voix à plusieurs idées de pensée.

La pièce est bien filmée et j’aime le fait qu’il y ait de l’anglais et du français.

Les comédiennes sont aussi très justes et convaincantes.

Je tiens à féliciter toute l’équipe pour ce très beau projet qui selon moi est plus que réussi !


Amber 26 days ago

This is an outstanding re-imagining of the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, linked to the present day via the parallel dynamic between the two actors playing the roles. Under the masterful direction of Sean Hardy the play segues seamlessly between English and French (there are subtitles), the past and the present, the comic and the tragic, whilst provoking ever-prescient questions about femininity, power and the public gaze.

The characters are played with such spellbinding conviction and authenticity by Pauline Prevost as Mary Stuart and Marie-Colombe Lobrichon as Elizabeth I that I was on the edge of my sofa during the final scene, firmly convinced they might actually die in real life! This is a testament to the show’s genius in blurring the lines between fiction and reality, through the dexterous scriptwriting that intertwines the narratives of the characters and the story of the Queens. The distortion is further enhanced by the eerie supernatural element that is evoked when we cannot tell if the character of Pauline is playing a game with us or has been somehow possessed by the spirit of Mary Stuart. This keeps us guessing and gives the unsettling feeling that anything can happen.

Our sense of unease means we relate more readily to the characters’ own sense of uncertainty regarding their identity, their responsibilities, and ultimately their fate as they navigate the complexity of being women of power in a patriarchal society. The actors’ visceral performances potently demonstrate the vulnerability that comes with their power, their agency and the limits of it, and the question of how their gender impacts their status. At certain points Marie-Colombe as Elizabeth punctures the fourth wall, turning the lens by looking directly into the camera to interrogate us, the public, on our role in the events that surround us. Are we blameless as spectators or are we responsible for what happens? As Elizabeth I contemplates the question of Mary Stuart’s fate, we are forced to confront the question of what we would do. Would we save our own skins or stand up for what we think is right?

These are uncomfortable, thought-provoking questions that are more pertinent than ever as social media makes us, the public, ever closer spectators of worldwide events. I would like to thank Summertide Company for this excellently crafted and very moving production, which is so intricately filmed that I hardly noticed I was not actually physically in the theatre! I look forward to seeing more from this very talented Company.

Maxence 28 days ago

Après avoir été ravi par cette production, il apparaît tout à fait naturel de remercier, en premier lieu, la Summertide Company !

J'observe une admiration certaine pour la capacité que la compagnie a eue d'apporter un oeil nouveau sur un épisode historique à de maintes fois interprété. Et quel épisode historique que le duo féminin formé par Elizabeth I et Mary Stuart. Cependant, le défi est brillamment relevé.

Étant un parfait profane, tant en matière théâtrale qu'à la sensibilité que d'aucuns peuvent éprouver à l'égard du travail de Schiller, j'estime que la Summertide Company réalise une belle prouesse en familiarisant d'emblée, d'une façon moderne, émouvante et parfois comique, son audience aux deux composantes précitées.

Pour ce faire, la production use de procédés ingénieux. Il est ici légitime de rendre ses honneurs, par exemple, à la qualité indéniable des dialogues (tout en insistant, d'un point de vue purement personnel, sur le monologue de Marie-Colombe) ou bien à la capacité des certaines images à vous captiver (sur ce point, je pense notamment aux scènes "face caméra", redoutablement efficaces pour saisir l'intensité qui se dégage, par exemple, des regards).

Il résulte de tout ce qui précède que je ne peux évidemment que recommander et ce, sans réserve, Mary Stuart.

Encore bravo !

Rhys 35 days ago

In the words of essayist Gore Vidal, “a talent for drama is not a talent for writing but an ability to articulate human relationships”; inspired by the nineteenth-century Schiller play of the same name, Mary Stuart (Summertide Company, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2021) brilliantly interrogates the complexity of relationships on cultural, professional and historical grounds.

As the plot unravels with twists and turns, viewers are ensnared in the taut relationship between Marie Colombe Lobrichon and Pauline Prévost whom play themselves. From the light-hearted and comical start to the truly terrifying finish of the show, Lobrichon masterfully traverses the entire spectrum of emotions thus presenting herself as a truly gifted performer. Similarly, Prévost distinguishes herself as an exceptionally versatile actress whose ability to portray an American caricature and then a sixteenth-century Scottish queen within a matter of seconds is testimony to her talent.

Since its establishment, the company has pioneered bilingual theatre and thus created a wholly unique experience for monolingual (thanks to translated subtitles) and multilingual theatregoers alike. In the context of virtual theatre, the cinematography of Adrien Rogé skillfully creates a palpable atmosphere between the actresses and their audience which generously satisfies the appetite of the virtual viewer who desperately yearns to return to the physical theatre.

Throughout the play, the director features as a character who is simultaneously present and absent; in reality, the brilliant direction of Sean Hardy is evident in every aspect of the show from its well-chosen setting to intellectually stimulating script. Moreover, his masterful direction facilitates the audience to engage with the work and its themes in a way that is equally enjoyable as it is reflective thus resurrecting the original mission of Romantic literature as an introspective experience.

As a final word, this show could best be described as a very interesting and intelligent piece of virtual theatre which explores complex themes of culture, gender and their enduring influences both past and present. I have yet to come across a piece of virtual theatre as though-provoking as this one and frankly, I doubt that I ever will.

Bernadette Smith 36 days ago

Thank you to the Summertide Company for their powerful and beautiful Edinburgh Fringe entry, Mary Stuart. I enjoyed every minute.
Personally intrigued by what I consider to be one of the greatest and most legendary rivalries in recorded history, Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, I couldn’t wait to see this production. My one concern, that my French level wasn’t adequate enough to follow the French and English dialogues, was eliminated by the ability to turn on English subtitles.
Marie Colombe Lobrichon (Elizabeth I) and Pauline Prevost (Mary Stuart) are each brilliant in their roles; continuously assessing and sizing each other up, with their sharp calculations clearly reflected behind their eyes. Equally effective are the set and lighting choices, which kept my attention on the actors, and evoked a timeless quality to the performances. I could easily make the leap from their current day rehearsal room to a 16th century prison.
As the past and the present shifts and morphs, the viewer is left to contemplate their meeting: an elaborate head game between two competing actors or a dangerous and deadly standoff in the making? If only I could drop in on their rehearsal set for the next day!

Juliet 37 days ago

This performance was absolutely enthralling and kept its audience at the eye of their seats for the entire duration. The amount of thought put into the smallest of details was evident - from the chiaroscuro interaction to the deliberate camera positioning and even to Marie-Colombe’s piercing eye contact. As a viewer with extremely limited French and Schiller background, I doubted being able to fully grasp the breadth and magnitude of the production: however, the well-timed subtitles, powerful script and charismatic dynamics between the leads quickly proved me wrong. An absolutely brilliant performance - (and for Summertide to make their long-awaited comeback via digital format, no less) - bravo, bravo, bravo!!!

Ifigenia 40 days ago

A spectacular use of the digital format! The camera work, the text, the pacing, the brilliant performances all worked together to create a tense and riveting piece. The use of the space - and specifically, the directorial choices made in how the viewers see the space as well as who / what they see - in particular, make for further interesting commentary on the power and relational dynamics not only between the two performers, but also on the audience member(s) direct implication within those dynamics. Again, a very well done show, and bravo to the whole team!

Michaela 40 days ago

What a treat to watch! As an American living abroad, I could not help but cringe at Pauline's masterful portrayal of the earnest, over-eager American in a foreign culture. Couple that with Marie-Colombe's embodiment of the barely-tolerant native Frenchwoman, and you have a performance that is by turns hilarious, thought-provoking, and hair-raising. The show blurs the boundaries between audience and art, between real and imagined, and the camerawork and lighting made even the online format more intimate than many live theater productions. Bravo!

Rosa 43 days ago

The scenes between Marie-Colombe and Pauline, two actresses rehearsing alone on stage, become scenes between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart. The mix of French and English was very well thought out. Feminism is very well addressed in the dialogue. I laughed, I was moved and I was on the edge of my seat! It should come as no surprise, then, that I recommend to watch Mary Stuart-truly an amazing experience.

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