Theater department steps back into 1500s

Cast and crew bring ‘Queens’ to life through new production

The theater department will debut their show Queens by Kristen Doherty for the public on Monday, May 23. The department will be traveling to Scotland and England this summer for the International Fringe Theater Festival with the American High School Theater Festival in August. Only around 20 schools from around the world are selected to participate in the festival. Performances in Scotland will run from August 1-9. More information on the International Fringe Festival and Prosper Theater can be found here.









CAUGHT RED-HANDED: Gasping at the shocking news, sophomore Titus Boyd and freshman Erica Smith huddle with the gossips. Boyd and Smith qualified for Nationals and will both be traveling to Bloomington, Indiana this summer as well as Scotland. “People should come see the show because we have put a lot of work and effort into it,” Boyd said. “It is the show that we will be taking to the Fringe festival which is a big deal. The public showing will be our first ever performance of it.”

FROZEN IN TIME: Looking out at the audience, Catherine of Aragon, senior Jessie Kuhn, stays frozen in place as gossips whisper around her. The play consists of the stories of all six of King Henry VIII’s wives, and his daughter Elizabeth the I. “My character is one of the fools,” sophomore Pierce Polomsky said “We are set in purgatory with King Henry and we just torment him about his past. We make him realize all the wrongs he did and all the atrocities that he did to his past wives.”


GREEN-SLEEVED GOODBYE: Clutching her dress, Anne Boleyn, played by junior Lauren Grammer, prepares for her death. Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry the VIII. “Anne was kind of angling to gain the favor of the king,” Grammer said. “I would say she got a little bit in over her head, no pun intended. Obviously, it didn’t really work out for her, but I feel like she was very ambitious, and it’s very impressive she got as far as she did. She raised an absolute icon who reigned for 35 years.”

MOTHER OF AN HEIR: Narrating her life with Henry, Jane Seymour, sophomore Anna Stringer claims the stage light. Jane Seymour was the only wife of King Henry the VIII to produce a male heir. “Jane Seymour was the third wife of Henry the VIII,” sophomore Anna Stringer said. “She had a charming demeanor and she captured Henry’s heart after the death of Anne Boleyn. The Seymour family was very rich and wealthy and known among the ton. Her death caused many to feel sad and heartbroken.”

THE GERMAN QUEEN: Telling her story, Anne of Cleves, played by sophomore Riley Quinonez, stands near the audience as King Henry moves on. The students will perform the show in England and in Scotland. “I’m Anne of Cleves. She is German,” Quinonez said. “She marries Henry before they meet in person. They meet at a masquerade ball, and she is super excited. She finally runs into him all excited and ready to meet him, and he immediately decides to go ‘you know what I’m going to divorce you and marry one of your bridesmaids,’ who is a friend. She is there to say ‘hey you messed up big time, and I am going to make you regret it.’ She’s fun. The accent is quite interesting to do, and it’s cool getting to interact with everybody else.”

HEAD HELD HIGH: Looking above the crowd, Catherine Howard, played by freshman Mary Freitas-De Freitas freezes center stage. Howard was the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. “Catherine Howard is Henry’s child bride,” ​​Freitas-De Freitas said. “She was only 16 when she married him. He was in his 50s. Catherine Howard was beheaded for adultery, and she did not go through a very nice ending.”

A NEW CHAPTER: Looking off stage, Catherine Parr, played by junior Marissa Denman freezes in her position. The production cast and crew will perform on Monday, May 23. “I play Catherine Parr,” Denman said. “She is the last wife of Henry the VIII. In the show, it portrays her talking about how Henry needs to not be so awful. Their relationship continues to go back and forth, she manipulates him into not thinking that she is not actually doing anything. When he dies, she goes back to the guy she was with before Henry, and then she has a kid before passing away.”

GOOD QUEEN BESS: Light shining on her face, Queen Elizabeth, junior Mikayla Sexton takes the stage. This is Sexton’s third production in the department. “In the show, Queen Elizabeth I, is the daughter of King Henry and Anne Boleyn,” Sexton said. “Anne Boleyn is snatched away from Elizabeth and her head is chopped off. Henry wants a son as an heir, therefore Elizabeth is insignificant. After King Henry died there needed to be a new heir for the throne of England, and there was basically no one to rule. Therefore, queen Elizabeth began her reign. In the show she becomes a powerful monarch who takes charge and puts Henry in his place by emphasizing that women are powerful.”

STUCK IN A LOOP: Surrounded by the queens and ensemble, purgatory King Henry VIII questions his life. “My character I am playing is the dream version of Henry the VIII,” Lauby said. “Basically, he is living out what purgatory Henry is describing. I am able to have a direct connection to the characters, and I am able to actually live out the scenes and portray the emotions he felt in that moment. I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to work on this show.”

GRASPING FOR HELP: Surrounding King Henry VIII, the cast claws upwards. Junior Stone Porter plays King Henry in purgatory. “Henry is a tortured soul,” Porter said. “He is being tortured for the reasons he tortured people when he was living. He is reliving all the bad stuff he did to his different queens. He is reliving it in purgatory. You can see that he regrets what he did. But, deep down, he definitely doesn’t. Even though he may show or think that he does, deep down he really doesn’t. That’s why the ending is so cool.”

CROWN-IN-WAITING: Partially lit by the lights, the queen’s crown sits on the foot of the stage and waits to be used. “Queens” is directed by the theater department’s head director Vicki Kirkley. “King Henry VIll is trapped in purgatory and bound to his throne by a sinister fool, and the ghostly Women in White,” Kirkley said. “Here in his gilded cage, he is forced to relive the sins he committed against his Queens, mistresses and people, over and over again for an eternity. The script integrates a multitude of original source documents; letters, eye-witness accounts, 16th century children’s rhymes and song lyrics.”

LADY-IN-HIDING: Hiding from Henry’s wrath, Catherine Parr sits surrounded by the other queens. Junior Gabe Torres works as one of the two technicians for the show. “This really is a new experience, especially for me since this is my first time stage managing,” Torres said. “It’s been a lot of fun working with everybody and having such a big cast and ensemble.”

THE FINAL TUDOR: Looking down at Henry, Elizabeth I discusses her reign as Queen of England. Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was the final ruler of the Tudor line.

POISED PERFECTION: King Henry VIII’s wives stand tall at the beginning of the show. The department is taking their production of “Queens” to the Fringe Festival in the United Kingdom. “‘Queens’ is a fun experience that we are all getting to do – since it’s new for everyone getting to go to the Fringe Festival,” junior Cooper Smith said. “I think we are all really excited for it. The show revolves around King Henry VIII and his six wives. He is in purgatory now and having to relive the mistakes that he made in his life.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated June 28, 2022, to correct grammatical errors.