Tryst are delighted to be returning to Dundalk after a four-year absence. “We would have been back earlier but we didn’t have the right play; this year we have,” says President Frank T Murray.
Their entry in this year's Dundalk International Maytime Festival is “Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off” by Liz Lochhead – her corrosive take on the demise of Mary Queen of Scots which starts on a scaffold and ends in a children’s playground.
The drama of her life, the cruelty of her death and the courage and dignity with which she faced it have made the Catholic Mary Stuart a figure of romance and legend. She is, for all time, the unhappy and maltreated Queen.
But the first thing to grasp about Mary is that she was a politician to her fingertips. She came to Scotland in 1561, not yet twenty, to find it convulsed by the Protestant Reformation. But she was well schooled in the arts of politics. She made no attempt to impose Catholicism, but maintained her own religion and debated with her nemesis John Knox.
In Liz Lochhead’s iconoclastic version, mixing sixteenth-century Scots and standard English, all the main protagonists in Mary’s tragic demise are featured: Mary herself, courageous but sad; the cold-hearted, manipulative Queen Elizabeth; the pretty boy Darnley, weak but vicious; the rough, chauvinistic Bothwell; the “humpy-backed” Italian secretary Rizzio; the ranting John Knox. Plus the ubiquitous Corbie, the one-man Greek Chorus, commenting sardonically as the debacle unfolds.
Tryst’s eight-strong cast play not just the main characters but a multitude of others who flit in and out of the action. The players are:
Jim Allan, Carol Clark, Alan Clark, Ken Crossan, Joanne Davidson, Rhona Law, Brian Paterson and J Thom.
The Director is Jim Allan and Stage Manager is the multi-talented Roberto de War who also lights the show. The sound is engineered by David Allan.