Campus Life

Family dysfunction hits a whole new level

A chill is in the air!

King Henry II and his family congregate for an even chillier Christmas celebration in James Goldman's The Lion in Winter, playing Nov. 20-24, 8 p.m. nightly on the University Theatre stage.

Set in the stark hollows of Castle Chinon in 1183, the dramatic tensions between members of King Henry II's family take centre stage in this historic play. The company includes Henry's quarreling and conniving sons, intent to claim the throne; his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, allowed a reprieve from her 10-year imprisonment to join the festivities; and Henry's young mistress, Alias, who is also betrothed to his son Richard.

As the party commences, the scandals of this dysfunctional dynasty explode, revealing shocking truths of betrayal, deceit and treachery.

Lion in Winter
And you thought your family had interesting Christmas get-togethers.

"This is a very complex script that explores the dynamics and dysfunction of families throughout history," says guest director Philip Adams. "It's about power and land and the successors to that land. We, the audience, can marvel at the dexterity of the noble family."

"Despite the lies and treachery of this dysfunctional family, there is still humour," Adams adds. "Families are funny and this script exposes that humour in very clever ways."

With a grand set, designed by Jim Wills, and period costumes designed by Leslie Robison-Greene, the production transports audiences to a medieval era of stone, wood, leather and furs.

"The production is very well crafted, and it's been a pleasure to be a part of this collaborative project," says Adams, who won Saskatoon's Best Director Award in 2012.

A bit of a nomad, he has served as the artistic director of Nakai Theatre in the Yukon and Mulgrave Road Theatre in Nova Scotia, and also directed productions across the country.

Tickets for The Lion in Winter are available at the University Box Office (403-329-2616), Monday through Friday 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $15 regular, $10 seniors/students. Regular tickets are also available online,

This story first appeared in the November 2012 issue of the Legend. To view the full issue online, follow this link.