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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

REVIEW: “Queens” takes center stage in Masquers’ fall performance

Photos Courtesy of Stephen Miller
The Masquers of West Essex put on a chilling performance of “Queens,” for this year’s fall drama.

The Masquers of West Essex showcased an unexpected spin on the history of King Henry VIII with “Queens” by Kristen Doherty on Nov. 17-18. The show was well put together and worth the watch. 

“Queens” takes the audience through time on the journey of Henry VIII and his six wives known from the British rhyme: “Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.” 

Set in a rotting castle in purgatory, the cast was enhanced with ghostly makeup and costumes to look the part. Each queen tells her story of overcoming struggles in an effort to get King Henry to repent for his sins. 

The first act takes audiences through his lives with his first three wives. Each wife emerges to tell their story after an introduction by the Fool (sophomore Sophie Bonaguide).

 The second act goes through his final three wives and the story of his disowned daughter becoming queen. 

In the end, King Henry VIII does not repent for his sins, and so he has to relive the sins he committed again and again. The show ends in the same spot where it begins. 

The actors, set and costumes fully immerse the audience in the story. The audience experiences the strong emotions of the characters, humanizing what they learned in history books. The audience finds themselves rooting for each of the Queens. 

The strong cast included the six wives of Henry VIII: the devoted Catherine of Aragon (junior Charlene Pace), charming Anne Boleyn (senior Delaney Piccoli), gentle Jane Seymour (junior Lexi Ciardella), rejected Anne of Cleves (sophomore Binnie Da Rocha), the vivacious Catherine Howard (junior Stuti Patel) and knowledgeable Catherine Parr (sophomore Isabella Guantez). 

Junior Har-El Shrem played King Henry VIII in purgatory and junior Josie Monroe played King Henry VIII in his dreams. The cast remained present on stage throughout the duration of the performance and the agony of the king had a dramatic impact, even when he was not in the spotlight. Sophomore Sophie Bonaguide earned laughs as the Fool, bringing comedy into a solemn story. The strong and independent daughter of King Henry and Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I, was portrayed by sophomore Brielle Pryzyblinski.  

The show was brought together by the crew behind the scenes. Director Micheal Galioto, Student Director Luciana Musano, Student Choreographer Kaityn DeGraw, Student Stage Managers Sam Bonsignore and Tia Sidel, the technical crew and creative and makeup crew all worked together to create such a strong production. 

Whether a historical drama like “Queens” or the hilarious “Play On,” the Masquers of West Essex always manages to hit the mark. 

Behind the Byline
Amanda Ippolito, Arts & Culture Editor
Amanda Ippolito is an Arts and Culture Editor for the Wessex Wire. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her cousins and friends. In her free time she is either listening to music, playing guitar or watching TV. Her favorite singers are Taylor Swift, Zach Bryan, and Luke Combs.
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