Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lion in Winter Quiz answers and Winners

Thank you to everyone who played our fun quiz!

Our winners, who will each receive one comp ticket to see the show are:

Tim Klein (who did the play 28 years ago); and
Athena McElrath of McElrath Cabaret
Congratulations for having 100% correct answers.  For the rest of us, here’s the answer key:

Answer key: 1(a) Heloise; 1(b) Eleanor; 2(a) Heloise; 2(b) Eleanor; 3(a) Heloise; 3(b) Eleanor; 4(a) Eleanor; 4(b) Heloise; 5(a) Heloise; 5(b) Eleanor; 6(a) Heloise; 6(b) Eleanor; 7(a) Eleanor; 7(b) Heloise; 8(a) Heloise; 8(b) Eleanor; 9(a) Neither! Henry to Eleanor; and 10(b) Abelard to Heloise.

Lion in Winter Quiz – Win a comp ticket!

Preshow pop quiz!  History offers us no words from Eleanor’s lips, but in Lion in Winter, she invokes Héloïse and Abélard – France’s fiercely intelligent, doomed lovers forced to live cloistered and apart after their affair explodes into violence.  The stunning, wondrous letters between Héloïse and Abélard, written only 50 years before our play takes place, have survived (  Héloïse’ pen shines a light on what a viscerally passionate woman like Eleanor might have felt when imprisoned by her Henry for the long years before Act I, Scene 1.

Test your literary skills!  Of these mirror-image passages, which belong to 12th Century Heloise and which are Goldman’s invention for his Eleanor?  One comp ticket goes to the first person who emails the quiz moderator (email redacted for privacy purposes!) with 100% (you’re on the honor system!). Answers will be posted December 1.

1. (a) “You preserve me from death in order that I may die daily.”

    (b) “To be bricked up when I’ve known the world – I’ll never know how I’ve survived.”

2. (a) “I conjure you by the chains I bear.”

    (b) “Can’t you feel the chains? “

3. (a) “Death is less dangerous than beauty.”

    (b) “Death is a lark.  It’s life that stings.”

4. (a) “We shattered the Commandments on the spot.”

    (b) “But what could resist you?”

5. (a) “Do you suspect that, like Lot’s wife, I shall look back?”

    (b) “I can’t.  I’d turn to salt.”

6. (a) “I still have a thousand passions left to fight.”

    (b) “What would you have me do?  Give out, give up, give in?”

7. (a) “For a little quiet, for an end to this, for God’s sake, lock me up and lose the key.”

    (b) “I came here to ruin myself in a perpetual imprisonment that I might make you live quietly and at ease.”

8. (a) “I buried myself alive.”

    (b) “You’ve lived with everything I’ve lost.”

9. (a) “Is it rich despising me?  Is it rewarding?”

    (b) “A love so like to hatred.”

Henry and Alais

Henry and Alais

The powerful King of England played by Victor Mack, and his young and ambitious mistress, Alais, played by NWCTC company member Clara Hillier.

Director Elizabeth Huffman on Rehearsing Lion in Winter

When you have actors this good, the play sort of directs itself.  As we enter into our final two weeks, the entire cast is bringing on their A game, led with great skill and wit by the two formidable stage veterans Victor Mack and Marilyn Stacey. They, and all the designers,are all collaborating with terrific invention, heart, and lots of laughs. Before my eyes there is emerging a highly complex, politically ambitious, passionate, sexy, funny, utterly dysfunctional and very human family who all come home for the holidays.  We are calling to mind, and learning from, other ruling families, like the Roosevelts, Kennedy’s, Bushes and the royal British family today and the Obamas, all of whom have spent their entire lives in the global fish eye.  In this beautifully written play there is a cost to that kind of political and very public lifestyle. We see it all around us and the characters fit our NWCTC family like a glove. I am a lucky director and look forward to every rehearsal. Daisy is enjoying it too so you know that it is going well! See you all  at the theatre! Reserve your seat soon!


Eleanor and Henry

Marilyn and Victor

Marilyn Stacey as Eleanor and Victor Mack as King Henry in a publicity still for the upcoming production of The Lion in Winter.

Marilyn Stacey on Eleanor and Henry

This post contains some graphic language that may not be appropriate for some readers. It was written as part of a character study by Marilyn Stacey, playing Eleanor in the upcoming The Lion in Winter, and is appropriately savage and sensual as Marilyn grapples with the more animal instincts that dictate her character’s relationship with King Henry.


My dearest Henry,

Only two more days and I will be with you in Chinon. So close to where we met. How thoughtful you have always been to me. How ever-present I must be in your thoughts these ten years. Darling.

Captivity in an architecture I loathe, in a wing that never varies from a sterile 68 degrees – to what end exactly? To keep me hidden? Away? Safe? No,you punish with darkness one whose childhood was a single endless, golden summer under the brightest, bluest, most infinitely sprawling sky. Well, then. Thanks, dear, for the women you send me – a different, yet completely interchangeable batch of spies each year. Dull-witted, narrow- thinking women, nuns itching to get back to their selfless, sexless lives of bringing bottled water to children whose parents never thought to dig in and fight back. Ah, but there was the year you sent me young, beautiful women – your conquests, each and every one. I could smell them on you. How thoughtful you are. How convinced you must be that I care about such things.

Oh, Henry, I know. You know I know and I know you know I know (the family mantra).

That tired joke about shattering the commandments on the spot? I know you know that it was more, and more, and more than that. The moon changed color. The axis of the world shifted. The gravitational press altered that half fraction to bind us together immediately and forever. The world changed for us, and then we changed the world. Don’t you remember? Why don’t you remember?

Why is it so easy to hate and so difficult to love? Why are you calling me to Chinon? Did Richard refuse to come otherwise? Is Alais at her last with you? Are you ready to throw John into the helicopter blades? Is Geoffrey – well, Geoffrey is Geoffrey, isn’t he? The only truly intelligent child we have. He got the best and the worst of each of us. Do you love me, my woolly sheep dog? Does that word have any meaning to either of us anymore? You see, the more you work to make me metasticize, the more you grandstand your love for me, the old woman with the stretched gate (thanks to your teeth, your hands, your children tearing their way free of me to not nearly soon enough rise up against you).

How mortified you must be. Who wouldn’t want Alais Capet to cavort with? I want you to have more children, Henry, a hundred children who have your strong hands and searing eyes and fight and fine fucks. At least you were decent enough to not take up with Alais until the last of my eggs lay soggy in my tubes. I never minded, Henry, it didn’t matter. I loved you, always, ever, and only.

Words you will never hear from me.

So I will light a match and let these white pages go black, and gray ashes fall onto my armor of cashmere and silk. I will gather my coat, my passport, and scrape my pride from whichever wall you last threw it. You will not touch me, Henry. There is nothing you can reach inside of me that you have left alive. I dare you to find a beating heart.


By the Wrath of God,

Queen of England

Duchess of Normandy

Duchess of Aquitaine

Countess of Anjou

Daughter of Aenor

Sister of France

Lover of a Man Who Used to Be

Eleanor and Henry in happier days

Eleanor and Henry in happier days

As The Lion in Winter roars through its first week of rehearsals, the actors and designers are beginning to look deeply into the story and characters. Here’s one found image from Marilyn Stacey, playing Eleanor of Aquitaine, of what times may have been like way back when for the reigning king and queen.