The Lion in Winter

By James Goldman
Presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
Directed by Krista Jackson

January 10 to 28, 2017

It’s Christmas, 1183. In the holiday spirit, Henry II, King of England, has released his scheming wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from imprisonment and named his son, John, as heir. But Eleanor has different ideas for succession, and Henry’s infidelities and a decade in prison have not made her feel particularly cooperative. Before House of Cards and Game of Thrones, there was The Lion in Winter: a witty and modern take on what may have gone on behind 800-year-old doors. Directed by Krista Jackson.

★★★★★

"FABULOUS"
"Deliciously entertaining”

-  Joe Belanger, The London Free Press     

Photo Gallery

Featured VideoThe Lion in Winter: Roaring Praise From Audiences

Director's Notes

Krista Jackson

Frankly, Mother, your position on the board is poorest. If you tattled, there would be a rash of executions and you don’t want that. No, you don’t want to lose a one of us: not even me.

In preparation to direct The Lion in Winter, I asked my husband to teach me chess. Here’s what I learned: you always have to make a move and every move you make that doesn’t strengthen your position, weakens it. Moves you make set in motion countermoves. There’s a ruthlessness to it; take someone out before they take you out. It’s all about trying to get the King, though the Queen is the most powerful, most mobile piece on the board.  I am simplifying of course, but learning the game confirmed my suspicion that Lion is set up much like a game of chess. Every move the family makes over this Christmas in Anjou is made in pursuit of strengthening a grip on power. 

What has made this play stand the test of time is the human need for love that underpins their game. Within this Royal family, Goldman reveals an all-too-familiar dysfunction, insecurity, and vulnerability, allowing us see ourselves within the walls of their medieval castle. 

As I write these words, a new Royal-esque family – complete with gilded tower - has been installed and will soon preside over our American neighbours. I can’t help but think of them too and the guidance this play might offer them in a reflective moment. That politics is complicated. That perspectives can shift. That there can be strength in vulnerability. That when the love of power meets the power of love, outcomes may veer off unpredictably.

Featuring

Sarah Afful
ALAIS

Stuart Hughes
HENRY II

Andre Morin
JOHN

Brenda Robins
ELEANOR

 

Ben Sanders
GEOFFREY

Paolo Santalucia
PHILIP

Rylan Wilkie
RICHARD LIONHEART

 

Cast and Creative Team

Sarah Afful ALAIS
Stuart Hughes HENRY II
Andre Morin JOHN
Brenda Robins ELEANOR
Ben Sanders GEOFFREY
Paolo Santalucia PHILIP
Rylan Wilkie RICHARD LIONHEART

Krista Jackson DIRECTOR
Sue LePage SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER
Louise Guinand LIGHTING DESIGNER
John Gzowski SOUND DESIGNER
Gerry Egan STAGE MANAGER
Chantal Hayman ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
Caitlyn Albanese APPRENTICE STAGE MANAGER