When I first heard about this play, I was like: I must see this! I have been obsessed with the history of England ever since I first saw Elizabeth (the 1998 movie). Since then, I have visited England and seen many of the beloved movies/shows about English monarchs such as The Young Victoria, The White Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl. So you could imagine my excitement to see a play like this...
The play started with the entire cast dancing in a 1500's English manor. I couldn't wait to follow the tale of King Henry's gruesome ambition to set his first wife aside in order to marry Anne Boleyn and have a son.
At first, I was disappointed because the play revolved around Thomas Cromwell rather than King Henry VIII. The reason for my disappointment: I didn't know much about Thomas Cromwell or his importance. However, I came to realize the great influence Thomas Cromwell had on King Henry VIII, as his chief minister. I even started thinking by the end of the play that people haven't put enough attention on Cromwell when telling this story.
My eyes followed this world where people fall into and out of the grace of the King in the blink of an eye. Most people today if they fall out of good terms with someone, they just don't talk to each other. Not so in the court of King Henry VIII. Usually, you were lucky if you were just banished instead of being executed. The play proves this point when the Cardinal Wolsey, patron of Cromwell, is released of his position of being the Chancellor for twenty years. What was Wolsey's beef with the King? Oh, he just couldn't find a way for Henry to divorce his wife. The play also introduces how Anne Boleyn disappoints the King by not having a son, when he had done everything possible to marry her. So, what happened to her? He just had her decapitated. And I should mention, I googled Cromwell after the play and I found out he faced a similar fate.
The costumes were glorious! I felt as if I had returned to the court of King Henry VIII for three hours. Personally, I felt a little jealous of the women. Those dresses were absolutely beautiful! Well, minus the corsets. I think the corsets were pretty much torturing devices back then. Men also had to wear something called hose, essentially stockings. Sounds a little weird, right? Apparently, men wanted to amplify the shape of their legs.
One of my favorite parts about English history, and history in genera,l is how everything connects. Although Anne Boleyn never gave birth to a son, she gave birth to Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth is pretty much one of the most well known monarchs AND she proved that women could do a man's job. She considered herself married to her country and ruled alone in a time where women were belittled next to men. She is definitely one of the most inspirational women in my book.
BBC also came up with an adaptation of the novel "Wolf Hall." You'll be sure that I will be tuning in every week...