QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: King Leir
  • Author: Peter Cockett

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Peter Cockett
    Peer Reviewed

    King Leir

    King Leir, Scene 21

    Cordella: Julian DeZotti
    Gallia: Paul Hopkins
    Mumford: Alon Nashman

    Performing Cordella (Sc. 21)

    Read about performing Cordella in Scene 16

    This scene gave Julian DeZotti (Cordella) the opportunity to explore a playful side of his character that we had not discovered when working on her earlier scenes. Over the course of the SQM company tour, Julian embraced the fun-loving side of Cordella apparent in this scene as a tonic to the modest and over-virtuous interpretation I encouraged early on in the process. Part of this decision was inspired by his growing aptitude for playing women and the fact that Margaret of Fressingfield, his role in Friar Bacon, was equally virtuous and yet far more playful, implying a less restrictive approach to the performance of Cordella might be appropriate. The text of this scene gives ample support to this conclusion as Cordella engages in bawdy dialogue with Mumford and her husband, matching them both in wit and humour (TLN 1823-34). A playful and engaging representation of women seems entirely appropriate for the Queen's Men, and may be seen as a subtle resistance to conservative patriarchal attitudes.

    Read about performing Cordella in later scenes

    Performing Mumford (Sc. 21)

    145Read about performing Mumford in Scene 7.

    In this scene, Mumford very much plays the clown, speaking largely in colloquial prose and entertaining his monarch and his queen. The humour revolves around his sexual desire for a "wench" he apparently left behind in England (TLN 1820-22). Mumford's reference to his "pair of slops" (TLN 1836) lends further support to the idea that the role was played by Tarlton who is reported as wearing "slops," a particular kind of baggy pants fashionable at the time. Engaging the royals in a mock-legal debate in order to persuade them to a trip to England, Alon emphasized the playful shift in language by raising his hand as if presenting an argument in court at "by this hand you promised it me" (TLN 1852). The style of the mock debate was sustained until the plan for a seaside visit was confirmed.

    Read about performing Mumford in later scenes

    Performing Gallia (Sc. 21)

    Read about performing Gallia in Scene 16

    Hopkins's interpretation of the king as fun-loving young adventurer worked wonderfully well in this scene. The line "We'll go disguised" (TLN 1867) delivered with great enthusiasm, was often met with laughter as Paul had established the prince's love of disguise so clearly in the earlier scenes. Hopkins gave the character a great range by committing whole-heartedly to the playful aspects of the prince and yet maintaining the sincerity of his love for Cordella and his support for Leir when appropriate.

    Read about performing Gallia in later scenes

    Watch video of Scene 21 on the Performing the Queen's Men website. (The video footage is password protected. Click on "Cancel" in the pop-up window to obtain password.)