Monday, July 21, 2014
The Pirate Queen
I fought my wars on land and sea
To be a woman strong and free
I should have learned, at journey’s start,
No woman’s free who ignores her heart.
Boublil and Schonberg avoided adaptation for The Pirate Queen and created a libretto whole cloth from a historical anecdote. The collaboration with the producers of Riverdance meant that there would be long stretches of dance (at a wedding, a funeral, and a christening) leaving the plot to be quickly shoved into short scenes (like the one where Grace gives birth aboard a ship, gets out of bed to sword fight British soldiers, then belts an angry divorce song at her husband).
Grace's crew was deadly earnest while her Gaston-y first husband and Queen Elizabeth's court were played for high camp. The famous treaty between Grace and Elizabeth, arguably the purpose for adapting this story, took place off-stage while the courtiers gossiped.
Ben Brantley wrote: The Pirate Queen” registers as a relic of a long-gone era, and I don’t mean the 1500s. The big-sound, big-cast show pioneered by Messrs. Boublil and Schönberg is now as much a throwback to the 1980s as big hair and big shoulders.
The Pirate Queen ran 85 performances and 32 previews.