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Lecture 9

ENG252Y1 Lecture 9: ENG252Y Lecture 9: Elizabeth Rex (Part 1) by Timothy Findley

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Robert Mc Gill

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ENG252 Lecture 9 – Term 2 March 10, 15
Timothy Findley, Elizabeth Rex (Part 1)
Play can be thought of as contemporary. It was first staged in Ontario during the year
2000 for a contemporary Canadian audience.
Think of literature as a form of rhetoric: a form of written persuasion.
Findley died in 2002, and grew up in Toronto. He didn’t start out as a writer but an actor.
He did a few plays in Stratford and eventually left to act in England. However, overtime
he turned to writing, but he never gave up acting entirely.
He grew up in the upper class area of Rosedale, Toronto. He writes on that area, and is
interested in the upper class distinction associated with the area and Toronto at large. He's
interested in writing on Anglo-centric – people who hold material, political, economic
and social value to English values.
In this play, he is interested in discussing the complexities of ruling in England as a
woman; meaning the difficulties Queen Elizabeth faced. Findley also tackles issues
related to gender problems.
Theatre in Canada
Q: What is the play thinking about in trying to sway its watchers concerning gender
roles? Elizabeth Rex is interested in class relations, so what is it trying to comment on?
A: the play is about acting and improvisation.
Q: What is Canadian about Elizabeth Rex? A: the Stratford Festival, for one. Think about
the history of Shakespeare and theatre in Canada. The play has 2 settings: Stratford,
England, in 1616, and 1601, where Shakespeare in looking back on his life, thinking
about it the day before he dies.
1606 - La Theatre de Neptune en la Nouvelle-France by Marc Lescarbot was the first
physical play to be performed in Canada. It was performed to welcome people who
journeyed back to the Colony established in Canada.
As early as the 1760s there are notices of people performing William Shakespeare's plays
in Canada. Even by Susanna Moodie's time, there aren't too many records of Canadian
writing their own plays. Most plays performed were by American traveling companies
who would put on Shakespearian productions.
Not large demographics to support Canadian plays. Why? For one, paper is hard to come
by in Canada. There was also a lack of actors, audience, and people with time and
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