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Wirtz Center’s production of ‘Mary Stuart’ will portray epic clash between two iconic queens

MFA directing candidate Alex Mallory directs mainstage production

The imprisoned Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and her rival Queen Elizabeth I, face off in a battle for the throne in Peter Oswald’s Tony-nominated adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s German verse play “Mary Stuart.”

Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts 2018-2019 Mainstage season continues with Schiller’s “Mary Stuart” from April 26 to May 5 in the Ethel Barber Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

Blending poetry and prose, Oswald’s adaption originally premiered at London’s Donmar Warehouse in 2005. In reviewing the 2009 Broadway debut, New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley wrote, “The classical combination of strengths, weakness and circumstance that define tragic heroes has seldom been parsed with such flash, vigor and lacerating insight.”

MFA directing candidate Alex Mallory directs this thrilling drama pitting two descendants of monarchs against each other to secure the throne: Mary Stuart, a tragic heroine rising above her suffering to gain absolution and spiritual enlightenment; and Elizabeth I, in turmoil over the right course of action and pressed by the cruel demands of her court to ensure her sovereignty at a terrible moral cost. 

Ignited by a fictitious meeting between the two titular queens, an epic political battle ensues, leading to human tragedy and an emotional war of words that echoes throughout history.

“This play is about women fighting relentlessly for power and agency against systemic oppression. It is about making choices for ourselves, and how these choices affirm our humanity,” Mallory said.

Performances of Schiller’s “Mary Stuart” are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $22 for seniors (62+) and area educators, $20 for NU faculty and staff and $10 for students with valid I.D. Tickets for Northwestern students are $6 in advance or $10 at the door. 

Tickets and more information are available on the Wirtz Center website. Tickets also can be purchased by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office, located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive. 

Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The box office is closed Sundays and Mondays. 

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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