Mary Stuart

Now playing at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway.

I suspect philosopher-playwright Johann Schiller was less sympathetic to England’s first Queen Elizabeth than I am, but the genius of his play Mary Stuart—about the fatal rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots—is that one needn’t share Schiller’s sympathies, or lack thereof, to enjoy it. Schiller plays fair, for the most part, rendering both Elizabeth and Mary with dazzling complexity and a deliciously meaty sense of drama. The play climaxes in a confrontation between the two queens—a meeting that, in life, never happened, much as Mary wished for it. But that meeting is the sort of thing that should be true, the sort of thing that begs for art to improve upon life, which makes Schiller’s invention of it all the more precious.