Nicu's Spoon presents the Off-Broadway premiere of Elizabeth Rex, written by Timothy Findley, directed by Joanne Zipay.
On the eve prior to the dawn execution of Robert, Earl of Essex, for treason, Shakespeare and his company of actors are at court. Under curfew in a barn, with the Queen, through her restless night as she struggles with the decision she has made to behead her beloved "Robin."
On the sixteenth century stage the women roles were played by men; the only woman in the company is the seamstress who makes and repairs the costumes. The Queen is intrigued by the nature of the men that play these roles, and whether their 'essence' is truly that of a man, or of a woman. In part to entertain and divert the Queen who is tormented by her decision to execute Essex, and in part to illuminate the question that so intrigues her, members of the company recite and play short vignettes from various of Shakespeare's plays. In this vein they challenge the Queen with provocative questions that would be inadmissible at any other time or place, and reveal their sympathy for Essex. At times the Queen commands and threatens regally, at times she drops her guard and confesses her womanly feelings.