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Monday July 21, 2014 in Books
Michel Marc Bouchard’s latest play tells the story of Queen Christina of Sweden, who wreaked havoc throughout northern Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century. An enigmatic monarch, a flamboyant and unpredictable intellectual, a woman eager for knowledge, and a feminist before her time, Christina reigned over an empire she hoped to make the most sophisticated in all of Europe.
In 1649, Christina summoned René Descartes to her court in Uppsala to share with her the radical new ideas emerging from science and philosophy at the time – ideas that contradicted long-held, faith-based views about the world. Astronomer Johannes Kepler had recently proposed the elliptical trajectory of planets – including Earth – around the sun, and Descartes himself contended, despite condemnation from the Church, that individuals, not God, determined their own destiny.
Descartes’s ideas about free will and reason appealed to Christina, who was struggling to reconcile tensions between her rational, thinking self and emotions she dared not name – including her love for a woman. Rather than bow to pressure to conform to the expectations of a nation that demanded she give it an heir, the twenty-six-year-old queen abdicated her throne to convert to Catholicism – rendering her ineligible to rule, according to Swedish law. Was this an act of madness? Or a bold gesture of autonomy by a modern woman born out of her time – one whom the seventeenth century simply could not contain?
Christina, The Girl King premieres at the 2014 Stratford Festival.
Cast of 4 women and 6 men.
Read a scene from this play on Meta-Talon.
ISBN 13: 9780889228986 | ISBN 10: 0889228981
5 W x 8.5 H inches | 96 pages
$16.95 CAN / $16.95 US
Backlist | Drama
QUOTES OF NOTE
“[A] piquant take on Christina’s story, with a pronounced predilection for philosophical meditations … Bouchard’s play deserves much credit for trying to cover a lot of historical and philosophical ground. … the ensemble [in the Cor Theatre, Chicago production] shines bright as it illuminates this off-kilter take on one of history’s most fascinating women.”
– Chicago Tribune
“Christina, The Girl King is a regal romance. Bouchard once again proves himself a master of wild fantasy and the florid language to go with it, always deftly peppered with biting wit.”
– Montreal Gazette
“[an] even-handed historical drama (which doesn’t shy away from Christina’s attraction to women) … The ambition and non-traditional approaches by Cor Theatre in producing Christina, The Girl King is admirable”
– Windy City Times
Finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, 2013 (French drama)
Finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, 2014 (Translation)
About the ContributorsMichel Marc Bouchard
Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard emerged on the professional theatre scene in 1985. Since then he has written twenty-five plays and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including, in June 2012, the prestigious National Order of Quebec for his contribution to Quebec culture, and, in 2005, the Order of Canada. He has also received le Prix Littéraire du Journal de Montréal, Prix du Cercle des critiques de l’Outaouais, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award, and the Chalmers Award for Outstanding New Play. Translated into nine languages, Bouchard’s bold, visionary works have represented Canada at major festivals around the world.
photo: Julie PerreaultLinda Gaboriau
Linda Gaboriau is an award-winning literary translator based in Montreal.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.