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Ivona, Princess of Burgundia

By Demita Usher

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To quote from an old movie title, there was something about Mary and there is something about Ivona, but what is it? In the theatre production, Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, written by Witold Gombrowicz, you get the opportunity to see how one girl turns one royal court upside down. Ivona is unattractive and when it comes to social graces, is found wanting. Emily Post, queen of etiquette who had a social behavior for every endeavor would have written her off as a lost cause. She is withdrawn and indifferent and a total waste of human DNA. Yet Phillip Prince of Burgundia is fascinated with her. He considers her passive indifference to be a challenge to be conquered; a mystery to be uncovered. 'Finding someone inferior to appreciate ones own excellence', the Prince declares and uses this as his motive making this unsuspecting girl his fiancee'. Which to his surprise, the girl as only she can responds to by falling in love with him. This leaving him in an uncomfortable situation, he then feels obligated to reciprocate that love. What to do, what to do. His parents the King and Queen of Burgundia in the meantime are up in arms at their son's choice for a bride, but to avoid a royal scandal, they make every effort to embrace this girl as a new member of their royal family.

The harder they try to embrace the girl and make her feel welcome, the more lethargic, passive, and cavalier she becomes; to make matters worse, her lack of charm and indifference to royal court protocol such as bowing and curtseying before royalty drives them to question their son's good sense.

       

There is a saying, 'You bring out the worst in people' and that is what Ivona unwittingly does. As the author of the play puts it 'the silence, the unsociability and passivity of Ivona puts the royal family in a difficult situation. Her natural lack of charm sets off dangerous associations of ideas, everyone finding in her behavior a sort of reflection of his own imperfections and those of others' The royal court becomes a breeding ground of insecurities with the King and Queen. They see her as a reflection of the carefully guarded skeletons they have in their closet and thereby posing a threat.

By the end of the play everyone including Prince Phillip are plotting her death as her very presence become unbearable. It is an amazing thing to see how a non-responsive girl through her silence can manipulate an entire royal court to madness. Will she survive their plot against her and continue her bleak existence? This production is presented by a talented ensemble and is well acted and executed.

       

The production of the Princess of Burgundia is currently at The Sacred Fools theatre located at 660 N Heliotrope Drive Hollywood, CA. the show will run from May19th through June 26th 2005. Showtime Friday and Saturday is at 8pm and every Sunday at 7pm. Admission for Friday and Saturday shows is $20, Sundays are Pay-what-you-can. For reservations, pleas call (310) 281-8337 or go to their website at www.sacredfools.org

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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