“Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement Of Henry VIII” — (A Review)

Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017By Ernest Kearney — In James Cougar Canfield’s historical play Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII the “ladies” in question are the six wives of that oft-wed king, and their “waiting” is as a kind of celestial court, in which they shall pass subject on their king, lover and in some cases murderer.

Henry (Canfield) arrives in some spectral plane akin to limbo, or purgatory, then one by one his wives arrive to confront him regarding his treatment of them:  Catherine of Aragon (Hilary Kelman), Anne Boleyn (Wendy K. Skuse), Jane Seymour (Laryssa Schoeck), Anne of Cleves (Jennifer Haining), Catherine Howard (Elli Stovall Brown) and Katherine Parr (Claiborne Tomlinson).  The play, also by Canfield, is smartly and skillfully crafted, avoiding the pitfall of devolving into a repetitious “man-mash.”

Canfield flawlessly executes an emotional floor routine worthy of the Olympics, packed with saltos and double saltos expressing his remorse, defiance, passion and distain in facing each of them.

Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolutionThe show is blessed with acting as sharp as the stagecraft is superior.

Director Mitchell Glass overcomes the limitations of a small stage and the hazards associated with placing a sizable cast on it with the precision and concentration of a master sculptor working on white marble.

His stage flows with a vigorous energy and elegant motion that guards and guides his cast from colliding in either chaos or clutter.

Not to be overlooked are Kaitlin Gould and Margaret Gorrell’s outstanding costumes that served Henry’s queens royally.


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Ladies in Waiting: The Judgement of Henry VIII

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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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