In addition to going to see Mary Stuart performed at the Folger, I also have a copy of the play and I’ve been reading it.
There was no good way to do this: either I’m spoiling a play I’m about to see or else I’m rehashing in book form a play that I just saw. I went for the latter.
It’s good, but also reinforces something that nags at the brain.
It’s not as good as Shakespeare.
Well… duh. Neither is Edward Albee, yet we can mostly agree that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is pretty darn good. So what’s up?
Oswald deliberately uses iambic pentameter and the play itself actually takes place in Shakespeare’s lifetime, so the comparisons cannot be avoided. And some of the themes of power, nobility, loyalty, as well as the wonderful little plots and conspiracies are very much out of the Bard’s history plays. And it can’t stand up to the (admittedly, unfair) comparison.