One Minute World Arts- The Queen and Her Theatre

While the world is marking the departure of Queen Elizabeth II, theatres in the UK also pay their respect to the iconic figure who reigned for 70 years. Although views on her reign differ, the majority of British people still think she was a great monarch who served the country with grace and integrity. For many art and entertainment creators, her gentle and graceful reticence shown in public occasions has been an inspiration for their work. A few playwrights, in particular, have managed to “translate” her personality traits into a wise and insightful character on stage. In Alan Bennett’s A Question of Attribution (1988), the monarch is portrayed as a cannily skillful and quietly penetrating lady. In addition, in Sue Townsend’s The Queen and I (1994), she has been deprived of her royal status, in a situation that is later revealed to be her nightmare, but somehow appears to be an interesting and likeable character. Furthermore, in Peter Morgan’s The Audience (2013), the monarch’s weekly audience with several of her prime ministers is imagined to dramatize the queen’s ordinary and extraordinary interactions with these significant politicians.


Although the Queen never made clear if she was fond of the theatre or not, she did remember the musical Oklahoma! being the first show she and Prince Philip, her husband, saw together when they got engaged. Later in 1999, the royal couple went to see Oklahoma! again, this time a revived production with Hugh Jackman as the leading man, at the Lyceum Theatre. Therefore, it is plausible to say that Her Majesty enjoyed having a bit of fun at the theatre. Now, as the Queen has passed away, Her Majesty’s Theatre, the current home to Phantom of the Opera, is confirmed to be renamed as His Majesty’s Theatre for King Charles III. Meanwhile, during the national period of mourning, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) would always begin their scheduled concerts by playing the British national anthem. Theatres in the UK would also dim their lights every evening for 2 minutes in order to show their love and respect to the Queen.




在全世界見證英國女王伊莉莎白二世(Queen Elizabeth II)逝世的此刻,英國劇場界也紛紛向這位時代的巨擘致敬。雖說社會各界對於女王在位時的表現褒貶不一,但大部份的民眾仍然認定她是深值敬重的皇家領袖。對藝文創作者而言,女王平生於公開場合所外顯的靜定自持,正好為他們提供了寬廣的想像空間;尤其是劇作家們,似乎總能把女王渾然天成的穩重氣質,給「轉譯」成舞台上深具智慧與洞見的形象。例如1988年劇作《歸屬問題》(A Question of Attribution)中的女王,就顯露出睿智內斂的深沈樣貌;而1994年的《女王與我》(The Queen and I),則把夢境中被貶為平民的她,塑造成一個相當討喜的角色;另外,在2013年的《女王召見》(The Audience)中,知名編劇彼得・摩根(Peter Morgan)大展長才,精彩地演繹了女王與任內多位首相間的互動關係。


儘管女王從未針對自己是否熱愛劇場的問題明確表態,但她和丈夫菲利普親王(Prince Philip)曾於訂婚後連袂出席觀賞音樂劇《奧克拉荷馬!》(Oklahoma!),而後來兩人又在1999年同赴萊希姆劇院(Lyceum Theatre),重溫由休.傑克曼(Hugh Jackman)所主演的復刻版《奧克拉荷馬!》,由此可見她對戲劇表演還是有著一定程度的喜好。女王辭世後,音樂劇《歌劇魅影》(Phantom of the Opera)的駐演場地「女王陛下劇院」(Her Majesty’s Theatre),將為繼任的國王查爾斯三世(Charles III)更名為「國王陛下劇院」(His Majesty’s Theatre)。此外,國殤期間,倫敦交響樂團也將在每場音樂會開始前演奏國歌,而各劇院則會依循劇場傳統,每晚為逝者熄燈默哀2分鐘,以示對女王的追悼之意。 



Photo Credit © SINEAD LYNCH/AFP via Getty Images, Joan Marcus, Colin Smith