When I heard the news that Helen Mirren would be replaying the role of Queen Elizabeth II for this magnificent play called The Audience, I about lost my sh@%t when I realized that I would never get to see this magnificent performance on the big stage because I do not live in London or NYC. Luckily I was able to procure this fascinating play into my life and for months it remained untouched on my bookshelf until now. Every summer I get excited for the infamous BookTubeAThon which is a week-long marathon where you try to accomplish several reading challenges while basking in the fun of reading. I figured for this challenge I needed a book that was short and sweet and this fit the challenge. It helps that I’ve been marathoning the BBC version of House of Cards which surprisingly taught me how Parliament works and the role of Prime Minister.
Queen Elizabeth has been the longest reigning monarch in UK history and holds the record for having the most Prime Ministers during her reign (13 PMs as of 2017) which is shocking considering she has experienced all the ups and downs of the last half of the 20th century. So much has changed since she ascended the throne in 1952 and yet one tradition that remains the same is her weekly meetings with the Prime Minister. There is no written law in the constitution that enforces these two separate heads of government to meet and yet this tradition is hold sacred in British culture. These meetings all started during World War II under the reign of her father, King George VI with Winston Churchill and after the war was over it became a weekly routine that neither party wanted to stop.
Once her father passed away, Churchill became Elizabeth’s first Prime Minister who essentially taught her the rules of what these meetings dictate and as time passes we see how it has adapted and taken form under each new Prime Minister. These meetings are held privately without any written record of what has taken place which is understandable but imagine if we the public had the opportunity to know what exactly went behind closed doors between these two individuals and that is where the magic of Peter Morgan comes in.
If you do not know who is Peter Morgan, he is the creator of Netflix’s The Crown and wrote the screenplay for The Queen so it comes as no surprise that Peter Morgan has the gifted insight of tapping into the minds of the Royal Family. I believe he is perfect for writing this play because he pays major respect to both the Queen and the Prime Minister yet shedding light to the reality of what was taking place during each Prime Minister time in office. What I enjoyed the most about this play was Peter Morgan didn’t follow the dialogue in a linear format so there is a bit of suspense as to what particular Prime Minister is going to show up on stage.
At the end of the day the Queen will always guarantee her support for the Prime Minister and that is a difficult task to uphold because naturally we tend to have preferences when it comes to our leaders and over the course of decades there has been leaks about who were her favorites and which one she despised so Peter Morgan used that information to his advantage and while the conversations held in this play is fictional, Morgan has the natural gift of making it sound believable and it feels as though you the audience are these private meetings with the Queen.
I love anything that has deals with Royalty so naturally I am biased and I need to warn anyone who wants to read this play, if you have no clue about British history, Parliament, and the Prime Minister then I suggest you either pick something else to read or crack open a book and learn the gist of British culture because otherwise it will leave you completely confused. Remember this is a play not a novel so the author does not have time to supply enough information about the importance of each and every meeting that takes place in this story and the controversy that naturally surrounds the Prime Minister. If you have no qualms about it then I believe you will encounter a refreshing and beautiful take on Queen Elizabeth II and her relationship to the Prime Minister.
BookTubeAThon 2017 Challenge #3 :
Finish a book in one day.