Ipswich: Red Rose Chain reveal Anne Boleyn’s secret heart
- Credit: Archant
IT’S 1536 and Anne Boleyn, who captured the heart of a king and changed the world forever, faces trial with her brother George for adultery, incest and treason.
Charting her rise and fall, Red Rose Chain’s critically acclaimed Fallen in Love returns to Ipswich’s Gippeswyk Hall on May 22-23, 28-29 and June 4-6; with a run at The Tower of London on May 17-19, 25-26, 31 and June 1, 8-9 and 13-16.
We first meet Anne and George as young, but ambitious, semi-members of Henry VIII’s court - a place where ambition, success is everything. Full of potential, things start so well. As their ambitions grow, so do the stakes. Something they find to their cost.
Effectively giving birth to the Reformation, her inability to give birth to a male heir signals the start of her and George’s downfall.
“It’s so funny looking back, seeing how disappointed he was with the princess who turned out to be Elizabeth I the greatest monarch of all time,” says Scott Ellis, playing George.
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“Which is wonderful retribution for Anne, that her daughter actually does become a wonderful monarch and Queen of England,” adds Emma Connell, playing Anne.
The couple’s closeness, their intense reliance on each other, doesn’t help matters.
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“George is obsessed with Anne, whether that’s incestual or not, which I think is ambiguous... I think we’ve made our decisions, but we want it to be ambiguous to the audience,” says Scott. “He wants the best for her, his life is all poured in to Anne but he’s jealous of other people.”
“I think they did become careless and because their relationship was so intense, because they were so dependent on it, that under the immense strain and pressure there could have been moments where people thought ‘this is too much, this isn’t right’. But they needed that in order to get where they did,” believes Emma.
The magnitude of the story, she says, is unbelievable.
“It’s like taking the audience down a rapid of the Boleyn story; that’s all thanks to Jo (Carrick, writer and director), because the conflict that’s created in the writing is where those moments, moments you shouldn’t be there, the crackle, come from.”
Scott feels the play’s strength is you’re seeing these historical characters, who we know about and are used to seeing being so proper in period dramas, in private; allowing them to delve into the honest highs and lows of their situation.
“They’re still human beings,” agrees Emma, “going through tumultuous wave of emotions, pressure, drive and ambition. They get knocked back and they stand up and fight again; it’s just unbelievable the emotions and their journey through the play over 15 years.”
Moments in history are mentioned which may resonate more with those in the know, but you don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy the play.
“It’s about two people, their relationship,” stresses Scott.
Both are excited about the show transferring to the Tower of London.
“Here at Gippeswyk it’s going to be very intimate... I use the phrase ‘you’re smelling the sweat of the characters’,” smiles Scott.
“Being immersed in the atmosphere of the tower, that will be very special,” adds Emma. “It’ll be like time travel. Walking over that threshold into Anne and George’s world.”
I saw the play last week and can’t recommend it highly enough.