Head Trick Puts Queen Margaret Center Stage

Lost in sea of testosterone-filled heroes, Shakespeare’s women often get short shrift. And while everyone can conjure up the Kates and Ophelias and Juliets, how often do we hear about Shakespeare’s largest female role? Queen Margaret is a larger part than some of Will’s famous men, but it’s split up among so many plays that she is often forgotten altogether. Providence’s Head Trick Theatre aims to change that misperception with the American premiere of Queen Margaret, adapted by Jennifer Dick. The opening salvo in their 2019-20 season, the theater has this to say about the show: “In War With Time, Margaret weaves original source material from the character’s appearances in various Shakespeare plays, from Henry VI to Richard III, allowing a clear narrative to shine through, unimpeded.”

Head Trick artistic director Rebecca Maxfield tells Motif, “I love that we get to see the very clear evolution of Margaret as a character, from this young bride in a foreign court to this scary military leader. The small cast, which is a particular feature of this adaptation that I like, also lets us bring in the audience as Lancaster and York lords/soldiers who are ‘present’ in scenes and whom the characters address — it’s a great way to involve the audience, and also gets into some of what I’m interested in with this adaptation, which is the idea of partisanship. It’s really easy to say that we chose this show to capitalize on ‘Game of Thrones’ fandom, and while we’re not going to deliberately shy away from that audience, if that was really the play we were making we’d have chosen one of the adaptations of the ‘Henry VIs’ that kept the magic scenes. Rather, I’m interested in how people watch ‘Game of Thrones,’ or Avengers: Civil War, or sports — you have a house that you want to win the game of thrones, you’re Team Cap or Team Iron Man and so on. You put yourself on a side, and the side that you’re on influences how you view the events of the plot as they unfold. This adaptation really lends itself to interpretations of characters that could go both ways, at many moments, so I’m very excited to see if people might view the characters as heroes or villains, depending on whether or not they [the audience members] are Lancasters or Yorks.”

Head Trick Theatre presents the American premiere of Jennifer Dick’s adaptation of Queen Margaret, July 11 – 21, AS220, 95 Empire St, PVD