Christina, The Girl King

Translated by: Linda Gaboriau

Michel Marc Bouchard’s latest play tells the story of Queen Christina of Sweden, who wreaked havoc throughout northern Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century. An enigmatic monarch, a flamboyant and unpredictable intellectual, a woman eager for knowledge, and a feminist before her time, Christina reigned over an empire she hoped to make the most sophisticated in all of Europe.

In 1649, Christina summoned René Descartes to her court in Uppsala to share with her the radical new ideas emerging from science and philosophy at the time – ideas that contradicted long-held, faith-based views about the world. Astronomer Johannes Kepler had recently proposed the elliptical trajectory of planets – including Earth – around the sun, and Descartes himself contended, despite condemnation from the Church, that individuals, not God, determined their own destiny.

Descartes’s ideas about free will and reason appealed to Christina, who was struggling to reconcile tensions between her rational, thinking self and emotions she dared not name – including her love for a woman. Rather than bow to pressure to conform to the expectations of a nation that demanded she give it an heir, the twenty-six-year-old queen abdicated her throne to convert to Catholicism – rendering her ineligible to rule, according to Swedish law. Was this an act of madness? Or a bold gesture of autonomy by a modern woman born out of her time – one whom the seventeenth century simply could not contain?

Christina, The Girl King premiered at the 2014 Stratford Festival.

Cast of 4 women and 6 men.

AUTHOR

Linda Gaboriau

Linda Gaboriau is a Montreal-based dramaturge and literary translator. She has worked as a freelance journalist for the CBC as well as the Montreal Gazette, and worked in Canadian and Quebecois theatre. Gaboriau has won awards for her translations of more than 100 plays and novels by Quebec writers, including many of the Quebec plays best known to English Canadian audiences. She is the founding director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre.

Reviews

“[A] piquant take on Christina’s story, with a pronounced predilection for philosophical meditations … Bouchard’s play deserves much credit for trying to cover a lot of historical and philosophical ground. … the ensemble [in the Cor Theatre, Chicago production] shines bright as it illuminates this off-kilter take on one of history’s most fascinating women.”
Chicago Tribune


Christina, The Girl King is a regal romance. Bouchard once again proves himself a master of wild fantasy and the florid language to go with it, always deftly peppered with biting wit.”
Montreal Gazette


“[an] even-handed historical drama (which doesn’t shy away from Christina’s attraction to women) … The ambition and non-traditional approaches by Cor Theatre in producing Christina, The Girl King is admirable”
Windy City Times


Awards

  • Governor General’s Literary Award (French drama) 2013, Short-listed
  • Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation 2014, Short-listed
  • Excerpts & Samples ×

    Michel Marc Bouchard’s latest play tells the story of Queen Christina of Sweden, who wreaked havoc throughout northern Europe in the middle of the seventeenth century. An enigmatic monarch, a flamboyant and unpredictable intellectual, a woman eager for knowledge, and a feminist before her time, Christina reigned over an empire she hoped to make the most sophisticated in all of Europe.

    In 1649, Christina summoned René Descartes to her court in Uppsala to share with her the radical new ideas emerging from science and philosophy at the time – ideas that contradicted long-held, faith-based views about the world. Astronomer Johannes Kepler had recently proposed the elliptical trajectory of planets – including Earth – around the sun, and Descartes himself contended, despite condemnation from the Church, that individuals, not God, determined their own destiny.

    Descartes’s ideas about free will and reason appealed to Christina, who was struggling to reconcile tensions between her rational, thinking self and emotions she dared not name – including her love for a woman. Rather than bow to pressure to conform to the expectations of a nation that demanded she give it an heir, the twenty-six-year-old queen abdicated her throne to convert to Catholicism – rendering her ineligible to rule, according to Swedish law. Was this an act of madness? Or a bold gesture of autonomy by a modern woman born out of her time – one whom the seventeenth century simply could not contain?

    Christina, The Girl King premiered at the 2014 Stratford Festival.

    Cast of 4 women and 6 men.

    Reader Reviews

    Details

    Dimensions:

    96 Pages
    8.5in * 216mm * 5in * 127mm * 0.3125in8mm
    113gr
    4oz

    Published:

    July 27, 2014

    City of Publication:

    Vancouver

    Country of Publication:

    CA

    Publisher:

    Talonbooks

    ISBN:

    9780889228986

    Book Subjects:

    DRAMA / Canadian

    Featured In:

    All Books

    Language:

    eng

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