ELISABETH I. The main character of our new play is Elizabeth the first of England.
Made of fabric by the figure painter Mechthild Nienaber, she sits life-size on her throne. For animation she is guided by rods from behind. The head moves impressively while the puppeteer (s)* are hidden behind the throne.
We have been given the puppet from Gerhard Seiler of Puppet Theatre Seiler. Sometimes a Puppet Theatre gives or bequeaths an entire production including puppets to a colleague* within the Theatre (e.g. for reasons of age). Of course every theatre changes the production.
Gerhard Seiler has always been a soloist; for example, we play in pairs. Thus something new and unique is created again and again…
The creative work on our production is now in full swing. The premiere is scheduled for the end of November. And in doing so, we have taken care of the “star” of the play Cherrypicking Shakespeare – Pearls for the Queen. Our aim was to bring the figure of Elisabeth even closer to the historical original together with our costume designer Denise Sheila Puri.
1st challenge: Holy collar!
Elizabeth I is often depicted in pictures with a protruding collar. Often it reaches over her head and reminds us of the Halo of the Madonna. This association was probably intended by the “Virgin Queen”.
But how do you translate this stylized representation, which so strongly influenced our image of Elizabeth I, into a real figure without restricting the movement of the head?
We have chosen to continue the collar onto the throne, so to speak. For this purpose we mounted the cloak with a hoop from the chair. In this way “our” Elisabeth comes closer to her original, but remains movable and playable.
2.Ruffles Ruffles Ruffles!
The dress that our life-size figure wears is a costume tailored according to historical models. But on closer inspection, the collar and sleeves show no frills.
The figure is not wearing a typical undergarment of the time. Therefore we have added 2 meters of additional Plauener lace to the dress. By the way, this is genuine and was found in our stores, where it had been lying unused but always very much admired(!) for many years,. Now our Elisabeth resembles much better her historical original.
3. Diamonds are the best friends of a Queen!
Elizabeth I is said to have had a special liking for jewellery. By the way, it was not only the royal buccaneer Sir Francis Drake who supplied her with it. It is very likely that the historical Elizabeth did not lack supplies. Rather, enough space to store it all! She made it fashionable to wear several rings on her fingers.
We couldn’t resist giving our Elisabeth plenty of royal shine with necklaces and rings. With every movement they should dazzle and flash. Surely it will now be possible to illuminate her more finely with spotlights that can better emphasize her movements.
You can read more about the creation of the play in the article Shakespeare Retter in Corona Zeiten (Saviour in the time of Corona) by Silke Technau.