Conversations In Tusculum
Betty Shamieh(Broadway Play Publishing)
4 out of 5
Small Cast (7)Female (4)Male (3)
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Inspired by the life of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled as a pharaoh in ancient Egypt.
Under the guidance of Senenmut, her female lover, Hatshepsut usurps the throne from her son-in-law, Thutmose III.
Full of intrigue, farce, and sexual politics, FIT FOR A QUEEN is a tragicomedy of epic proportions with a modern sensibility.“Plenty of glamorous backstabbing, diva dissing and sexual double-crossing … has every right to claim the name Dynasty for itself.
But the title character in Betty Shamieh’s bouncy, bumpy comic melodrama is the real thing.
A queen, I mean, and not just of the self-dramatizing type.
She’s more than a queen.
She’s a pharaoh, one Hatshepsut, who reigned over Egypt for 20 odd years in the 15th century BC, and the distinction is important in a time when women rarely ruled, at least not officially.
(Ancient days, huh?) A subversive speculation on the nature of power.”
—Ben Brantley, The New York Times“Funny, both witty — Shamieh’s sharp-tongued women lacerate one another and their shared opponents — and farcical.
FIT FOR A QUEEN may have attracted attention due to its election-season parallels … but it’s Senenmut who is [Shamieh’s] favorite kind of antihero: the oppressed subject who refuses to play angel, the recipient of horrors who manages to deliver some horrors of her own.
She’s bundled contradictions, as the best-written characters always are: power-hungry but empathetic; hardened through experience but naive enough to be betrayed; often the smartest person in the room, so always surprised when she’s outwitted.”
—Harvard Magazine“If the premise sounds like a history lesson, this play delivers a hilarious, beautifully written tale of what it takes to be a woman in power and how absolute power does inevitably corrupt absolutely … the writing is both poetic and powerful and the comedy is intelligent and sharp.
The wily Senenmut has an evil streak that rivals many a Shakespearean villain.”
—Tribeca Trib“FIT FOR A QUEEN reveals the life and reign of Hatshepsut in a way never before explored, thus ensuring Hatshepsut’s name is not lost to the ages.”