Gamm Offers a New Look at Anne Boleyn

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jan 16, 2013

Pawtucket's Gamm Theatre begins 2013 with the U.S. premiere of British playwright Howard Brenton's "Anne Boleyn." The show runs from January through February 17, 2013.

In this rollicking, often laugh-out-loud funny drama, Brenton ("Paul," "Pravda") puts a radically revisionist spin on the life and legacy of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's notorious second wife. Traditionally portrayed as a sexual predator, Brenton's Boleyn is witty and confident as she takes on the vicious world of Tudor Court politics to help create Protestant England and remake the world.

Rachel Walshe ("Circle Mirror Transformation," "Mauritius") directs Gamm newcomer Madeleine Lambert as Boleyn, a woman with passionate beliefs and high intelligence as she navigates her marriage to King Henry VIII, played by Gamm Resident Actor Steve Kidd.

Lambert welcomed the chance to play such a historic figure. Anne Boleyn was viewed by her contemporaries as a "sexual siren," Lambert told EDGE.

"In my opinion, she did what we all aspire to do: she lived her life," Lambert continued. "She loved the king. She had deep personal and religious convictions.

There's a cult of Anne Boleyn followers for a very specific reason."

Lambert admires Boleyn’s "ferocity."

"The play is truly epic in nature and it chronicles her first meeting with Henry the 8th through her death," Lambert explained. "That journey appealed to me as an artist and an actress. It gave me an opportunity to carve and shape her experience."

Lambert grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and began acting at an early age. One of her first roles was as Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." She is a graduate of the Brown/Trinity theater program and has appeared at Trinity Repertory Company in "Steel Magnolias" and "A Christmas Carol."

Lambert enjoys collaborating with other actors and creative personnel in bringing a story to life.

"It’s being in a room with the audience, telling a story," Lambert said. "You can feel the heartbeat, you can feel the pulse. It’s a living, breathing art."

Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella noted that "Anne Boleyn" "is an equally powerful and provocative examination of that religion and its reformation 1,500 years later."

"The world would change irrevocably in the wake of one marriage and the will of one implacable young lady," Estrella continued. "Brenton brilliantly follows the story through to the birth of the King James Bible, ironically the most influential political document ever published. Ranging from the early 16th century to the first decade of the 17th, Brenton’s play is a generous, funny, intelligent pot-boiler, historical romance and ghost story. In other words, it is the perfect Gamm play: a Shakespearean-like epic that invites the audience into the heart of the action."

"Anne Boleyn" runs from Jan. 17 through Feb. 17, 2013 at The Gamm Theatre, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket, RI. Tickets: $36 and $45 (depending on day/time); preview and press performances (Jan. 17-21) just $26. Discounts for subscribers, groups of 10 or more, seniors and students. Tickets at 401-723-4266 or visit the theater’s website.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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