The Lion in Winter tells the story of Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their sons Richard, John, and Geoffrey, in their battles for the crown of England. Henry wants John to be king, and Eleanor wants Richard. The fate of France hangs in the balance under its new king, Philip, who must make an alliance by the marriage of his sister, Alais. Yet it is not a play about ambition or war.It is a play about family, children, and mortality.

Says director Jaki Demarest, "James Goldman describes The Lion in Winter as a comedy. I disagree.Like Romeo and Juliet or The Cherry Orchard, it might have started out that way. But what it attains is something altogether richer, darker, more complex, with an deliberately unsettled and less than happy ending. The emotional ambiguity of the piece lends itself to real, gutsy and three-dimensional choices and characterizations, of a kind too many community theater troupes miss.

A larger, better established troupe has expectations to contend with, a certain mold to have to fit. The Rude Mechanicals are rebels. We reject the mold, because we have that freedom. I'd rather see my actors fail with an interesting choice than succeed with a safe one. And weíre drawing an audience of like-minded rebels, sophisticated and savvy. Weíre a forum for challenging ideas, for lovers of Shakespeare, for method workshops, for love of the craft, for theater that truly ëholds the mirror up to nature." For a kind of theater you wonít see anywhere else.

"The Rude Mechanicals," to quote the Washington Postís Michael Toscano, "are neither. [They] have set a high standard for making the classics available to local audiences."

We want to take the classics we love and make you see in them all the life, humor, grief and passion that we do. If we have a single driving creed, for acting and for life, itís that anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Thank you, and I hope to see you there.

Jaki Demarest

Director, Lion in Winter

I could have conquered Europe, all of it, but I had women in my life. - Henry II