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Title:Queen Elizabeth's Catwalk
Author(s):Tavares, Elizabeth E.
Contributor(s):Dobson, Michael
Abstract:At first glance all you see is a window in a vaulted ceiling. You expect this from an Oxford college. Then you notice the outlines of a door halfway up, more haunting than the CGI candles from the Harry Potter films that filled the dining hall just on the other side. Wouldn't that be a grander image? Not in 1583, when William Gagers "Dido, Queen of Carthage" was performed here to celebrate the Polish ambassador. Queen Elizabeth I also attended. Rumor has it a private walkway was built for her separate entranceas much a spectacle as the play itself. My research into the first generation of English professional playwrights is built on moments like these, moments in the research process that, after piecing together their material vestiges, require an act of imagination to build a bridge between the archive and the event. The performance was an important one: Oxford was a hotbed of anti-theatricalists disgusted by boys performing in women's raiment since women couldn't legally take the stage. Wasn't that precisely what Elizabeth was doing, ruling in the body of a weak, feeble woman but with the heart and stomach of a king, when she stepped through that door?
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Elizabeth E. Tavares
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-28

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