An actress’ approach to the role of Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion In Winter by James Goldman
By Roxanna Prosser
Master’s Thesis, University of Arizona, 1969
Abstract: Eleanor of Aquitaine was a remarkable woman and a queen of international importance in the twelfth century. The story of her struggle with her husband, Henry II, at the time of the death of their eldest son, Henry the Young King, in 1183, has been made into a play by James Goldman, called The Lion in Winter, which was produced successfully on Broadway in March, 1966.
An actress approaching the role for public performance in her preparation includes rehearsal, character analysis, and research on the period and background of the play. A study of the stage history of the play, with particular emphasis on critical opinion of previous performances of the role, is of great use in planning interpretation and attack. Because of the unusually close historical accuracy of the play, research into the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the historical figure, serves as the character’s biography, as the Stanislavski system of acting recommends. A rehearsal log, the day-by-day record of the process of creating the role, details the practical application of some of the techniques involved in projecting the role.
See also this more recent performance of The Lion in Winter: