The UCF theater debuted its summer performance 'The Lion in Winter,' a story of power, romance and murder, Thursday night.
Performances are scheduled from Thursdays-Sundays on June 8-18, with tickets being $10 with a UCF ID and $20 for regular admission.
Set in 1183, 'The Lion in Winter' follows King Henry Plantagenet II, a warrior king, in the twilight years of his life and in the midst of a not-so-secret affair with his son’s fiancee. In this time of peace, Henry has come to enjoy ruling his country and wants to see it -- and with it his legacy -- remain intact. Enter his three sons, Richard the warrior, Geoffrey the shrewd and John the favorite, who are all determined to take up the mantle of king, some sooner rather than later.
“It’s a play about power; who has it, what do you do to get it and, once you’ve got it, what do you want to do with it?. There is a king who very much wants to pass on his kingdom, intact, to one of his sons. And you have three boys who've all been trained to be kings,” said director Cynthia White.
“For the most part we all love our families. Everyone’s families are a little dysfunctional, so I think there is a lot to relate to. It’s like a part history and a part romantic comedy,” said Mark Brotherton, who plays King Henry.
Originally written in the 1960s, 'The Lion in Winter' is, as White described, a play that is incredibly relevant in this day and age
“Well of course it’s OK to kill in war. That’s what I say in a tongue-in-cheek way ‘well of course it’s ok to kill in war’ but is it equally ok to stab someone in the back in a dark alley…?” said White.
White brings her message home, relating the play to contemporary issues and politics,
“Right now it seems to be a period where a lot of people are saying, ‘I can do, whatever I can get away with'... This play is relevant to students because it deals with when you test the limits of what you will you allow yourself to do and what is your own moral code,” said White.
This is White’s directing debut at UCF. The seasoned professional, who is also the director of new play development at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, said the play is very much one that draws the audience in with language.
“What I found in the play that I loved is the language. Despite that they have weapons, and they bring them out every once in awhile, their main weapon is language and how they convince each other what to do and goad each other on and the use the wit within that language,” said White.
Kate Ingall, who plays leading lady Eleanor of Aquitaine, shared this White's appreciation for the use of language in the play and considered her love of language to be among the things that suited her for role.
“It’s a role for a strong woman, if you read the history of Eleanor of Aquitaine. It’s one that thrives on speech and language. This play is written for actors that love language. I love love every sound, I love every word. This play suited me just fine," said Ingall.