A new play looks at all the troubled marriages of the British Royal family
The recent royal wedding, of Prince Henry and Meghan Markle, created quite a buzz across the globe. So when the staging of The Tale of Quarles, The Prince Who Fails, was announced in Bengaluru, it seemed well-timed. But playwright Veena S Rao, says, “It was just a lovely coincidence. The play was to be staged by March 2018 and was to be directed by the late Tom Alter. But due to his sudden demise last year, we had to change our plans.”
So, the critical task of directing this new play was assigned to Dr Sayeed Alam, from New Delhi-based Pierrot’s Troupe. The play premiered in Delhi a few weeks ago and will be staged for the first time in Bengaluru tomorrow.
The premise of the four-act play is Lady Diana (Fiona) and Prince Charles’ (Quarles) marriage and is inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The play follows their wedding and eventual divorce, but is layered with scandals that have haunted the royal family, such as the abdication of King Edward VIII for marrying a divorcee, Wallis Simpson.
Talking about the idea behind writing this play, Veena says, “I was fairly young when the royal wedding took place. TVs were far and few back then, so when my neighbour came back to India with VHS tapes, I watched the wedding later. Everyone was so charmed by Diana’s beauty and were talking about the wedding. But later, when the marriage fell apart, it struck me that many marriages within the royal family had disintegrated and I wondered what had happened. I wrote this play at that time, during the late ’90s before Lady Diana’s death.”
It was only recently, after the 20th death anniversary of the Princess, that Veena got in touch with Tom and decided to stage the play. The narration opens with three witches discussing a curse. The witches are employed by Wally Sampson (Wallis Simpson) to ensure the Queen names her son Quarles. Veena says some of the events are borrowed from Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story. “The breakdown of her marriage is from this book and from Diana’s Panorama interview of 1995. The rest of the play is my imagination. I thought of King-Emperor Edward VIII who abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved. From there on, I just let my imagination take over,” she says.
Rs 100 upwards. Tomorrow, 6.30 pm. At Dr BR Ambedkar Bhavan, Millers Road