“Dignity has nothing to do with palaces.” We live inside a moment in history when the world is politically charged. Countries all across the globe are experiencing revolutions and wars claiming to desire peace with their fellow man. America itself is in the midst of a pivotal political election. With such change and terror looming in the air, why would anyone desire to see a play that depicts these same themes? Union University’s production of Ugo Betti’s The Queen and the Rebels is not only a fitting show for this time; it is a much needed show.
Directed by David Burke and starring a talented cast of university students, this show, while originally written in the mid-twentieth century, reaches into the problems and questions of modern day and brings them to the forefront of the audience members' minds in a way that is both seamless and powerful. “Dignity has nothing to do with palaces.” This is just a sample of the lines spoken within this play that ripples through the minds of the audience. The play forces one to ask hard questions about who is worthy of dignity and respect in our world. Who decides whether or not a person lives or dies? When a war is raging on and the world is shrouded in chaos, how can we find hope?
When asked why he enjoyed the play, Daniel Ashworth, a freshman at Union University, said, "I love something about the darkness and the hopelessness. It brings you out of the reality that you're in and places you in a new one."
This is such an intricate show that it is hard to write a review without spoiling anything for future viewers. Burke did a magnificent job of creating a timeless world in which the play takes place. Through costuming that leaves you wondering just exactly in which decade these characters live and a set that gives no indication as to where in the world the country is located, the audience is given freedom to create their own reality and to allow these characters to tell their story.
This is a perfect show for any adult to witness and experience. The use of strong language and intense thematic elements is reason to refrain from bringing ones children. An audience participation discussion follows the show to allow for questions. The first night's discussion was led by Dr. Scott Huelin, a faculty member at Union, and the following conversations will be hosted by other guests.
The Queen and the Rebels will be playing at the W.D. Powell Theatre through Tuesday, March 15. Burke and his talented cast of students have once again brought to life the gift of the theatre. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to partake in a thought provoking and unforgettable theatrical experience
For more information about Union University Theatre, visit their website. General admission is $7.
Caylee Dugger is free-spirited, movie-obsessed, book-loving girl living in Jackson. She will soon graduate from Union University with her undergrad in Psychology. She loves spending her time hanging out with friends or serving lattés at Starbucks. She can usually be found running through the woods or people's minds; it depends on the day as to which. She goes on adventures regularly and is always looking for people to join her.
Kristi Woody is a photographer and storyteller for our Hello Jackson features about locally owned retail stores and restaurants. She also works as the university photographer for Union University and owns her own wedding photography business, Woody & Pearl Photography. In her free time, Kristi enjoys spending time with her husband and rambunctious beagle, Rhett and Chipper respectively. If you can't find Kristi in Jackson, you'll find her in her second favorite place: Disney World!