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Eleanor of Acquitaine - Mother Of The Pride

Eileen Page is a veteran in the best sense of the word. The 73-year-old actress went to the RSC at the age of eighteen, has sung in Sondheim’s Follies and has played alongside such greats as Paul Schofield. In her own life too, Page is a survivor: widowed at 26, she brought up her two children alone. It's not surprising then that this hardworking woman could spot a like-minded figure across the centuries. In the case of Eleanor of Acquitaine, mother of Richard the Lionheart and 12th century Queen of both France and England, Page has found the perfect subject.

'It's the best part for a woman outside Ibsen and Shakespeare,’ Page explains. She first played Eleanor in the 19605 some fourteen lines at the end of Shakespeare's King John. In 1977 she found the queen again in Goldman's Lion In Winter where a modern sensibility revealed her as a

woman out of her time. 'Her determination and her alive.

passion for her son Richard intrigued me. She stayed with me.‘ Now with Catherine Muschamp's script, this solo tour de force will reveal the brutality of courtly life.

At fifteen Eleanor was married to a diffident twelve- year-old who became King of France. After her marriage was annulled, at 29 she fell violently and passionately in love with the eighteen-year-old Henry of Normandy whose ascension to the English throne made her Queen of England. She survived intrigue, infidelity and defended her family fiercely, wreaking savage revenge on the assassin of her beloved son by having him flayed

THEATRE FIRE/IE1? A Kind Of Alaska

Those used to the elliptical narratives of Harold Pinter may find this aCCOunt of a woman awakening from the effects of sleeprng sickness, to fund that she has

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While you were sleeping: A Kind Of Alaska

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lost 29 years of her lite, unusually driert rn rts approach For Ciraham Cowley, producer of thrs versron of Pinter's 1982 play, thrs represents the strength of the text. 'The unusual thrng ab0ut thrs prece', he comments, 'is that It's abow something. It tells a very drrect st0ry.

Woman out of her time: Eleanor Of Acquitaine

'All we know about her is legend, rumour and what the priests wrote about her, which was often disparaging,’ says Page. ‘She was very forthright and determined. She was her own mistress and wanted to rule her own life.‘

Expect a virtuoso performance from a classical actress, whose investment in this show has been at some cost. ’It took me five months to learn this part,’ Page confirms. 'l've really put my heart into this and a few quid!’ (Moira Jeffrey)

For details. see l/rt list rigor

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at For details, see lr'rl list, right

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5 l2 Aug i999THEUST33