january 2017 | volume 151
THE ROYALLY ENTERTAINING GLOBAL SENSATION COMES TO THE ARTS CLUB
From Winston Churchill (Joel Wirkkunen) to Margaret Thatcher (Erin Ormond), through Tony Blair and David Cameron (Jay Hindle), the Queen (Anna Galvin) has held a weekly meeting, or “audience,” with each of her twelve prime ministers. Peter Morgan’s imaginary glimpses into these tête-à-têtes provide a droll and fascinating portrayal of a lioness of history—one who, over the span of six decades, transforms from an uncertain young monarch into the revered figurehead of today.
As the 2013 stage adaptation, bookended by its 2006 film version (The Queen) and 2015 Netflix series (The Crown), The Audience is yet another popular play that demonstrates Peter Morgan’s penchant for dramatizing the lives of leading British figures. His 2006 hit production of Frost/Nixon presented the infamous interviews of Richard Nixon by British TV host David Frost, and was later adapted into the 2008 film of the same name. Following suit, the international success of The Audience has swept stages across Europe and North America as Morgan reworked the concept into the 2015 miniseries, The Crown.
Director Sarah Rodgers, who recently helmed the beloved Pride and Prejudice on the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, says, “The Audience is similar to The Crown in that it reveals the Queen as a real person who is charming, witty, flawed and vulnerable. Peter Morgan’s clever and honest portrayal of her humanity has endeared audiences across the world because he gives us a chance to connect with this intriguing woman.”
Noting the differences between the stage play and the TV series, Rodgers adds, “Unlike The Crown, which has events unfolding in chronological order, The Audience has a narrator, played by Bernard Cuffling, who directly addresses the audience to share key pieces of information with them, then seamlessly steps into the action of the scenes as the Queen's Equerry and aid. This device helps us move from scene-to-scene in unchronological order while, ultimately, creating a great sense of dramatic tension and surprise.”
The Audience also casts Anna Galvin’s real-life daughter, Bianca Sanchez Galvin, as Young Elizabeth. Both characters frequently share the stage to discuss matters of the monarchy; serving as a reflection of Elizabeth’s evolution from Princess to Queen and the expectations thrust on her from a young age. Rodgers notes, “Anna and Bianca are the spitting images of Queen Elizabeth at her respective ages, and it’s breathtaking to see this mother-daughter acting duo embody these dynamic roles.”
“It’s dazzling fun” —New York Magazine
Starring Anna Galvin as Queen Elizabeth II, with Chris Britton (Anthony Eden), Bernard Cuffling (Equerry), Ted Cole (John Major), Alen Dominguez (Footman), Bianca Sanchez Galvin (Young Elizabeth), Mike Gill (Footman), Jay Hindle (Tony Blair/David Cameron), Brian Linds (Detective/Bishop/Camera Loader), Tom McBeath (Gordon Brown), David Marr (Harold Wilson), Melissa Oei (Bobo), Erin Ormond (Margaret Thatcher), and Joel Wirkkunen (Winston Churchill).
Director Sarah Rodgers, Set Designer Alison Green, Costume Designer Christine Reimer, Lighting Designer Marsha Sibthorpe, Sound Designer Brian Linds, Assistant Director Ashley O’Connell, Stage Manager Angela Beaulieu, Assistant Stage Manager Allison Spearin.
Arts Club Theatre Company’s The Audience playing the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville Street), January 26 – February 26, 2017 (MEDIA OPENING: February 1 at 7:30 PM).
Tuesday – Thursday 7:30 PM, Friday & Saturday 8 PM, Wednesday 1:30 PM, and Saturday & Sunday at 2 PM.
Tickets start at $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit artsclub.com
ABOUT THE ARTS CLUB
The Arts Club Theatre Company, founded in 1964, is Canada’s largest not-for-profit urban theatre company. Led by Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd and Executive Director Peter Cathie White, it offers professional theatre at three venues—the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Granville Island Stage, and Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre—as well as on tour throughout the province.
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