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Anne of the Thousand Days: Understandable Historical Drama

By • Jul 15th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Vpstart Crow’s production of Anne of the Thousand Days [MP3 5:46 1.7MB].

Laura: Last night we saw Vpstart Crow‘s production of Anne of the Thousand Days in Manassas, Virginia.

Mike: Anne of the Thousand Days was written by Maxwell Anderson. It’s the story of Anne Boleyn and her marriage to King Henry the Eighth of England. This is a typical English soap opera. It had murder. It has deceit. It has adultery. It has beheadings. All that fun stuff that makes the English such a fun lot to deal with.

Laura: I really enjoyed the performance last night. I though everybody did a great job. A lot of powerful monologues with a lot of deep emotion. A lot of feelings came through. It was a small cast, only about fifteen people so it had a rather intimate feel.

Mike: I liked this show, too. I was not looking forward to it. I was expecting it to be an historical drama that had a lot of flowery, old Elizabethian English. As well as fifty people that I had to keep straight and funny costumes that would look the same as the other fifty people in the show so I couldn’t even use the costumes to keep them apart. Vpstart Crow really did a good job and made it very approachable and easy to follow what was going on in the story.

Laura: The main character was Anne Boleyn. She was played by Pamela Sabella. Anne was the daughter of an Earl and caught the eye of King Henry the Eighth. I really liked her performance very much. She had a beautiful costume. She was a shrewd woman in that she knew what she wanted to go after and she went after it. Anne was on stage for just about the whole performance. She had a lot of lines to memorize and I thought she did really well with the expression and the emotion, especially her reactions to King Henry.

Mike: King Henry was played by Jay Tilley. Jay did a really good job with his character. The king was someone I didn’t really find sympathetic. He wanted you to be sympathetic because he was the king. If he tells a joke you will laugh. If he wants to talk with you about women, he’ll talk with you about women. He wants to know what you think. There were times when he was just a regular guy hanging out with the other guys. It was always right there that he was the king and whatever he says is what goes. He was very much a selfish man. Whatever it took to get what he wanted was all that mattered.

Laura: There was a good scene between Anne Boleyn and Henry the Eighth, after Anne’s lover had been killed by King Henry. The negotiation that went on by the two of them I thought was very good. In contrast to Jay Tilley being royal and pompous, Anne was, I wouldn’t say meek because I thought she was very shrewd. She knew she wanted to be the Queen of England. She negotiated well with Henry to be able to have a royal wedding, but also to become the queen of England and have people like her. I thought it was a really powerful dialogue between the two of them. They both had a lot of emotion in that performance.

Mike: There was another scene later when Elizabeth was born. King Henry comes in all proud about how he’s now got a son. He can be a real man now. All the courtiers and attendants are standing around trying not to say anything because it’s a girl and the King doesn’t know. That was a really good scene, very well done. Finally Anne tells him, “You have a daughter.” The color just drains right out of Jay’s face. I don’t know how he did that. It was really quite effective.

Laura: The set was also very well done. It was a simple set. They had enough props so that you knew when they were in a garden area or the royal court or the bedroom. I thought it was really well done. I also liked the costumes very much. They were very ornate and very well done. Probably very hot, too.

Mike: The basic staging of a few of the scenes had Anne on one side of the stage and King Henry on the other. That was quite effective because that continued throughout the play at different points. Another point I wish they could have done similarly. After Anne and King Henry were married, they ended up walking up the aisle of the room. I wished they could have exited that way because they could have done that same exit the same way later in the play. King Henry and Anne leave together and walk down the center aisle of the theatre. It would have been a really cool contrast to show right after the wedding, and also later in the play if they could have walked off together in the same manner.

Laura: I thought all the performers did really well. They all got into their parts and made them very believable. From King Henry down to the serving girl, I thought everybody gave strong performances.

Mike: Anne of the Thousand Days is playing at The Cramer Center in Manassas through July 30th. On Sunday, July 23rd, after the matinee there will be a talk back session. You can ask questions about the performers and the director about the show.

Laura: Once you’ve seen the show, please feel free to leave a comment on We’d also like you to join our mailing list to keep informed of events, auditions, and other things. Simply go to

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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One Response »

  1. Hey Mike and Laura! Thank you again for taking the time out of your schedule to review Anne of the Thousand Days and for your kind words. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the production. We at Vpstart Crow are very, very proud of this one and hope many folks will be able to come see it. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    Jay Tilley
    Director of Communications
    Vpstart Crow Productions, Inc.