Politics and pop culture collide in Belfry Theatre’s presentation of Serving Elizabeth, a fascinating new play that moves between Kenya in 1952 and London in 2015
Playwright Marcia Johnson was inspired to write this play after watching an early episode of The Crown on Netflix.
“The series was extremely well-made,” she said. “I have seen every single episode. But a particular episode—the one set in Kenya—still stands out as flawed to me. The Kenyan perspective was completely ignored.”
Johnson adds: “I wrote this play to give voice to the underrepresented, and I was nervous about how it would be received.“
In Kenya in 1952, the Serving Elizabeth character, Mercy, 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 viewers guessing as it explores issues of colonialism, nationalism and the question of who gets to have a voice.
Serving Elizabeth will run from November 23 to December 19 at the Belfry Theatre in Fernwood. The play will also be live-streaming from December 7 to 12. Pay-what-you-want tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or belfry.bc.ca.