Kate Hennig’s The Virgin Trial, the eagerly awaited companion piece to the runaway hit The Last Wife, is now on stage at the Studio Theatre, directed by Alan Dilworth, and featuring Bahia Watson in the lead role of Bess.
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, the young princess Elizabeth navigates a labyrinth of political and sexual intrigue in the Tudor court that threatens her freedom – and even her life.
In addition to Ms Watson, the exceptional cast features Nigel Bennett as Ted, Laura Condlln as Ashley, Sara Farb returning to the role of Mary, Brad Hodder as Thom, Yanna McIntosh as Eleanor and André Morin as Parry.
The creative team includes Designer Yannik Larivée, Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell, Sound Designer Alexander MacSween, Dramaturge Bob White, Originating Dramaturge Andy McKim and Fight Director John Stead.
“I find myself marvelling, a second time, at Kate’s achievement of taking history as a starting point and jumping off – kitted out with her razor-sharp mind – to explore pressing questions of our time,” says Mr. Dilworth, who also directed The Last Wife. “In The Virgin Trial we find ourselves excavating bias, prejudice, narcissism, and shame: hallmarks of our highly politicized and social-media-saturated moment. Where The Last Wife was very much a story about a life, The Virgin Trial is a story about stories. Here, the centre of the drama is who has the most narrative agility, thereby controlling the stories, giving them the power to control those around them. This is a world of ‘alternative facts.’ ”
The Virgin Trial kicks off the all-Canadian season at the Studio Theatre to mark Canada 150.
“We have three generations of female Canadian playwrights joining us in this anniversary year,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “Sharon Pollock, one of the country’s great pioneer female playwrights; Colleen Murphy, one of our most accomplished mid-career playwrights; and Kate Hennig, a remarkable emerging writer whom we are thrilled to welcome back to Stratford.
“It’s been very exciting to follow the flourishing life that The Last Wife has had since its première here in 2015, and what a special treat it is to return to this world and share the next chapter in the story. Once again, Kate has concocted a brilliant reimagining of the Tudor queens – bold, clever and, at times, downright spine-tingling.”
The Virgin Trial runs until September 23. For ticket information visit www.stratfordfestival.com