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Steppenwolf Debuts New Play Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!, Inspired by Meghan Markle

Vivian J.O. Barnes's two-hander is directed by Weyni Mengesha.

A scene from Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!
(© Lowell Thomas)

Steppenwolf Theatre Company has released a streaming world premiere production of Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!, written by Vivian J.O. Barnes and loosely inspired by the struggles of Meghan Markle and the British royal family.

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! uses the monarchy to investigate how society's institutions of power affect Black women. Barnes's play is set on the eve of a royal wedding and imagines a meeting between a Duchess who has just given birth to an heir, and a Soon-to-Be-Duchess, whom she is coaching on the rules required to join the family.

The two-hander is directed by Weyni Mengesha and stars Chicago-based actors Sydney Charles and Celeste M. Cooper, who filmed the play in their separate homes, with cameras, computers, sets, props, and costumes shipped to them directly, with the footage then carefully edited together.

The creative team includes Pornchanok Kanchanabanca (sound design and original music), Joel Moorman (creative director), Lowell Thomas (director of photography and video editor), Trevor Bowen (hair and makeup consultant), JC Clementz, CSA (artistic producer and casting director), Claire Haupt (production manager), Laura D. Glenn (production stage manager), and Christine D. Freeburg (assistant production stage manager).

Duchess! Duchess! Duchess! is available via the Steppenwolf Now Virtual Stage, which can be found here.