Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Mary Stuart: Great Acting, Long Show

By • May 13th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Mary Stuart as performed by the Cedar Lane Stage [MP3 5:13 1.5MB].

Laura: We saw the Thursday evening performance of Mary Stuart performed by the Cedar Lane Stage in Bethesda, Maryland.

Mike: Mary Stuart was written by Friedrich Schiller in 1800. The version we saw was translated by Robert David MacDonald in 1987. It is the story of Mary, Queen of Scotland and her imprisonment by the Queen of England and the confrontation that happens between the two of them.

Laura: I thought it was a powerful show and really well done.

Mike: The acting was top notch on this performance.

Laura: Everyone did a great job. It was very intense.

Mike: The main character was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland. She was played by Malinda K. Smith. She did a phenomenal job with her expressions, her excitement, and then her longing for freedom and wanting to talk to the queen; her dealing with the men in her life and her nurse.

Laura: The Queen of England was played by Leah Mazade. She also did a great job. She was very powerful in her presence and her mannerisms. However I could also see a kind of longing that life didn’t quite work out the way she had wanted it to.

Mike: I saw lots of doubts in the Queen. “Am I doing the right thing.” Second guessing herself at different points in the show.

Laura: Sir Paulet’s nephew Mortimer was played by David Dieudonne. He did a terrific job also. He was so expressive and almost bouncing around the stage. He had so much expression and really gave an extraordinary performance.

Mike: He had controlled excitement during a lot of his scenes. He was playing the two women against themselves so that he could get what he really wanted. Yet he stayed focused on what was the right thing to do. I’m not going to give it away, but he was a man of action and took the action that needed to be done at certain points in the play. All of the acting was really well done. We just focused on three of the actors, but every single person did a great job.

Laura: The performance was done in a theater in the round style. I think this is the first time we have been to something like this so it so it was neat. It brought people together and was a more intimate setting than a stage with chairs.

Mike: The audience was right in there with the action. The performers were two feet away from you at certain points. Their stage area was maybe 15 feet square. It was a nice touch to see their emotions and see and feel them reacting to the other action going on.

Laura: The set was also simple. They brought on their props and left a lot to your imagination. They brought on a chair for the queen to rule from. Another time they brought in a little table with an ink well. I thought it was really well done, that it allowed your imagination to fill in the rest.

Mike: That was also enhanced by the lighting. There were several lights that came on the stage in different points. They also raised and lowered the lighting to focus on different characters. That was very effective. They also showed jail cell bars and a nice expanse through a view through a window. Later when there were some outdoor scenes, the lighting was broad everywhere.

Laura: Matching the simplicity of the set was the simplicity of the costumes.

Mike: The costumes were not 1500’s. They were contemporary. The women’s outfits were very simple. Mary Stuart wore a simple solid color dress. The Queen of England wore lots of different colored veils and scarves and nice patterned dresses. This showed her station in life. The men pretty much all wore suits. The guards and some of the other helpers wore suit variations, but it was all very effective. One thing I did not like was a scene where one of the guards pulls a gun to do an arrest. The gun they used was like a WWII Nazi handgun. That was too out of place. There is another scene where the character pulls out a knife, and what he pulls out is a small little pen knife. That was a little funny. Otherwise all of the props were really well done to match the simplicity of the stage and the costumes.

Laura: This was a really good show. It was long. It was 3 hours and 20 minutes. It was a complicated script. It took me a few scenes to get into it, but I really enjoyed it.

Mike: Mary Stuart closes tomorrow, but if you have the opportunity go see it tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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