By Marcia JohnsonDirected by Kimberley Rampersad
IN THE SCRIPT OF HISTORY, WHO GETS A SPEAKING ROLE?
In Kenya in 1952, Mercy, a restaurant proprietor, is hired to cater the impending visit of Princess Elizabeth, soon to be Queen. In 2015, another story unfolds in London, England, where a young Kenyan-born Canadian, Tia, is working as an intern on a TV drama series about the British royal family – while also pursuing a writing project of her own. These parallel narratives seem only coincidentally connected – until a surprising twist reveals a deeper relationship between the two. Audiences are certain to enjoy this ingenious contemporary drama that keeps us guessing as it explores issues of colonialism, nationalism and the question of who gets to have a voice.
House Program: Serving Elizabeth
Virtual Runtime: One hour and 46 minutes
Study Guide: Serving Elizabeth
Produced by special arrangement with Thousand Islands Playhouse.
Production support is generously provided by John & Therese Gardner and by the Tremain family.
2021: HRH Princess Elizabeth, Robin in Serving Elizabeth. 14th season. Stratford: Shakespeare's Juliet, Rosalind, Olivia, Cordelia, Diana, Ann Boleyn, Jessica, Princess Katherine; Ruth (Blithe Spirit), Célimène (The Misanthrope), Tourvel (Dangerous Liaisons), Wendy (Peter Pan), Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest), Laurencia (Fuente Ovejuna), Mabel (An Ideal Husband), Laura (The Glass Menagerie), Grace (London Assurance), Brooke (Noises Off), Cassandra (Agamemnon). New York: Cecily in Tom Stoppard's Travesties (Broadway), Gwendolyn in The Importance Of Being Earnest (Broadway), Beatrice-Joanna in The Changeling (Off-Broadway). London: UK première of Intimate Apparel, world première of Love Me Do. Shaw Festival: Saint Joan (Joan), Man and Superman (Ann), Victory (Devonshire), Middletown (Tour Guide). Other (selected): Beatrice in Much Ado, Olivia in Twelfth Night (Old Globe), Ariel in The Tempest, Titania/Hippolyta in Midsummer (Shakespeare Theatre DC/Macau, China), Rachel Peabody in Disney's Eloise at Christmastime.
Playwright of Serving Elizabeth
Marcia Johnson was born in Jamaica and has lived in and near Toronto (Tkaranto) since the age of six. Her five-minute play A Magical Place, written for Zoom, is available on YouTube as part of the National Transformations Project (National Arts Centre/Stratford Festival). She directed the two-hander, starring Kaleb Alexander and Amaka Umeh.
Marcia acted in Serving Elizabeth's world première at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops in February 2020. It has been published by Scirocco Drama. The play was a co-production with Thousand Islands Playhouse, which will host its COVID-delayed production in October. More productions are in the works.
Other plays include Binti's Journey, an adaptation of the teen fiction novel The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis (Theatre Direct Canada/Manitoba Theatre for Young People/Black Theatre Workshop); Say Ginger Ale (SummerWorks Festival and adapted from her award-nominated CBC Radio drama); Courting Johanna (Blyth Festival), based on Alice Munro's "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"; and Late, an original piece produced by Obsidian Theatre Company.
Marcia has participated in playwrights' groups at Thousand Islands Playhouse, Obsidian Theatre Company and Theatre Passe Muraille as well as Ontario Arts Council Playwright's Residencies at Blyth Festival and Roseneath Theatre. She also participated in Tapestry New Opera's Composer-Librettist Laboratory twice, which led to several productions of her short operas including the Dora-nominated My Mother's Ring with composer Stephen A. Taylor.
CBC Radio Drama writing credits include Wifely Duty and The Revival Meeting (Sounds Like Canada); Say Ginger Ale (The Round Up); and Perfect on Paper (Sunday Showcase and Monday Night Playhouse). Marcia was a member of Blyth Festival's 2018 acting company with lead roles in The New Canadian Curling Club and 1837: The Farmers' Revolt. She makes the odd appearance on TV and can be heard in the audio drama Every Minute of Every Day by Keith Barker as part of Factory Theatre's "You Can't Get There from Here" series.
Marcia started reading children's books online in April 2020 as a pandemic project. It transformed into the Facebook page "Hello, It's Marcia." As of this writing, she has read almost 400 books to children and adults alike.
2021: Production stage manager of the Tom Patterson Theatre Canopy. Eighth season. Stratford: Production stage manager, Festival Theatre, 2020. Assistant stage manager: Billy Elliot, Othello, The Music Man, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare in Love, The Hypochondriac, The Sound of Music, The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, King of Thieves. Elsewhere (selected): King Lear, Twelfth Night (SiHP); A City, Divisadero (Necessary Angel); Cracked: new light on dementia (UW/Collective Disruption); Comfort (Red Snow Collective); The Road to Paradise, Night (Human Cargo); Miracle on 34th Street (STC); Bella (HGJTC); Anne of Green Gables, Canada Rocks! (Charlottetown); Falling: A Wake (Blyth); The Barber of Seville (Soulpepper); Binti's Journey, Head à Tête, Old Man and the River (Theatre Direct); Danny, King of the Basement (Roseneath); Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, All's Well That Ends Well (SLSF).
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