I am having a spot of writers/ devising block on I Am Queen Anne at the moment. I know what it is that I want to say but it’s finding ways to say it, that people can relate to, in a way that makes people feel really excited and empowered by the subject.
There are a lot of plays out there at the moment that centre around feminism and injustice that still stands in our world whether it be in third world countries or a lot closer to home in so-called ‘developed’ countries.
The original inspiration behind this piece was based on a documentary I watched on the final days of Anne Boleyn. Anne had always been, for me, one of the most fascinating characters in history. Someone who defied all the odds and all the barriers against her gender to do what no woman in England had ever managed before and oppose the social system to become Queen of England. I remember in primary school having to pick one of Henry’s six wives to do a portrait of. I was adamant I wanted to depict this Queen. When I looked at the portraits of his wives she struck me as the most beautiful, which I feel had something to do with how interesting a character she really was. As I grew older I realised my pull towards her came from her ambitious nature, how she knew what she wanted and how she stopped at nothing to achieve it. She reformed the Church and made a lasting impression, which changed the face of England as a country. People sometimes refer to her as a feminist and although Anne herself wouldn’t have done (since the term didn’t exist then) I believe she was. There is of course a selfish nature to Anne’s actions and people could argue that she was a pawn in her families plot to gain more power, but unlike Katherine Howard, Anne was a shrewd and intelligent woman but her greatest downfall would be turning her allies towards her growing number of enemies. This was a woman with power, a woman who had risen above her station and a woman who needed to be squashed. But surely whilst she had the love of the most powerful man in the land it wouldn’t matter who was against her?
I didn’t want to piece to be something historical or just factual, which included all sides of the argument – I liked the idea of making it based on the opinions of a young 20-something-girl in the modern day. Someone that, like Anne, who was ambitious to see her status rise, someone who wasn’t afraid to speak out, someone who could stand up to her enemies.
I came forward in time to the 90’s where as a child I was just beginning to form my own opinions and tastes about music, amongst other things. I wasn’t a stereotypical girl – (but then again what is a stereotypical girl?) I enjoyed playing computer games, I played football and was incredibly sporty. Whilst all my friends were listening to the likes of S Club 7 I followed my sister in musical style and started listening to rock music that varied from heavy metal to pop punk – the likes of Green day, The offspring, Blink 182 and most importantly for this piece No Doubt. Their song I’m Just a girl made it onto the playlist for me to listen to while writing this show. Gwen Stefani is a person who has great influence on this character: Anne, the pop punk queen, not least of all in style. There is even a song I wrote about the troubles women have to deal with today called The Internet is a Dangerous Place for a woman.
It will be great to get into the rehearsal room on Thursday with Alice, who is acting as one of my directors and a person I can bounce Ideas off. Hopefully this will provoke more thought and more blog writing. Until then chao! x