Tudors and etc.- Opening and Prologue

Tudors and etc.- Opening and Prologue

A Stage Play by ctwood

The Tudor line had many scandals, but what if you could get Henry VIII, all his wives, and all his kids together in one place. This is that story in the only place they could come together, in death.


Tudors and etc.

The stage is black and silent at first. Slowly you begin to hear inaudible whispers, sometimes a few words may be captured such as “Divorced, beheaded, died, Divorced, beheaded, survived,” “b*****d,” “virgin queen,” “w***e,”” w***e’s daughter.” Lights slowly fade to blue showing silhouettes of all the characters except CECIL on a formation of sort which could be made of “rocks” or non-descript items closing the stage area off into a semi-circle. ELIZABETH is down stage center, under spot light, sitting or kneeling on the ground searching. She is the only one moving.



(Scared and confused)

Hello? Hello? Is anyone out there?

(Beat. Whispering grows louder)

Hello? Answer me!

(Her voice grows commanding and confident, queen-like)

I am Elizabeth the First, Queen of England, and I command you to answer me this instance!

(Beat. She regresses back to scared and confused)

Please. I beg of you. Hello?



(Voice over. ELIZABETH is the only one that can ever hear him)

Don’t beg, your majesty. Never beg. You are still a queen. You always have been.



Cecil? William Cecil? Is that you? Cecil? Where am I?


Still in blue out and still not moving, the other character’s whispers become understandable. Light thunder noises begin with slight flashes of light, not enough to see anyone’s face.



















Who knows?


One last loud and bright flash of lightning, too bright for the audience to the character’s faces, then all black and silent for a moment. Blue lights slowly begin to fade up again. Everyone is in the same places they were before still frozen and ELIZABETH is now also frozen.




(Starts off stage, lights up on apron, moves to center)

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. I’m sure you’ve all heard the story whether you remember the details or not. England was once ruled by a tyrant, Henry Tudor,

(Spot on KING HENRY)

King Henry the 8th. Known best in the history books for his break from Rome which lead to the formation of the Church of England and the rise of the reformation, but on a more personal level, he was also well known for his six wives.

(Spot off KING HENRY)

Katherine of Aragon,


Anne Boleyn,


Jane Seymour,

(Spot on JANE)

Anne of Cleves,


Catherine Howard,


and Catherine of Parr.

(Gesturing to the appropriate women)

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.

(Spot off the WIVES)

He went through these wives looking for one that would give him a son and then a second son. Along the way, his majesty had three legitimate children. His one and only, so desperately  desired, legitimate son, Edward Tudor,

(Spot on EDWARD)

son of Henry’s 3rd wife Jane Seymour, who died of child bed fever shortly after giving birth to the beloved prince. Young Edward took the thrown when his was a boy of only nine years of age. He ruled England for six years until his death at only fifteen.

(Spot off EDWARD)

Henry the 8th’s oldest daughter, Mary Tudor,

(Spot on MARY TUDOR)

then wore the crown. Mary was very different from her father and brother in religious matters. She was faithfully catholic and determined to drag England back to Rome and the Pope kicking a screaming if necessary. She burned countless souls who she deemed heretics which earned her the title that you all are more likely to know, Bloody Mary. She even held her half-sister, Elizabeth, prisoner in the Tower for a time.

(Spot off MARY TUDOR)

Mary was the daughter of Henry’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, who was pushed aside, divorced, so that His Majesty could marry the Mother of his second legitimate daughter, Elizabeth Tudor.

(Spot on ELIZABETH. Beat.)

Elizabeth… who I advised for so many years until my own death. Elizabeth who was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, the first queen ever to be put to death. Elizabeth whose father killed her mother. She ruled after her sister’s death. She ruled as the Virgin Queen, married to her people. She ruled the Golden Age. She became the great Queen Elizabeth the first!

(Spot off ELIZABETH. A long pause. Cecil is visibly thinking. He begins with difficulty, dragging himself out of his thought.)

Elizabeth…. well Elizabeth, and Mary also, had issues rise about their legitimacy due to the way their mothers’ marriage to the king ended.

(Another long pause)

Henry, King Henry the 8th, also had three illegitimate children. The eldest of these and Henry’s first son was Henry Fitzroy.

(Spot up on FITZROY.)

He was the kings only recognized illegitimate child.

(Pause, looks for a moment at FITZROY)

He died. At 17, he died. Under suspicious circumstances, he died.

(Beat. He looks at the audience)

Curiously the very year that the Prince Edward was born.

(Spot off FITZROY. Pause, thinking of how to explain the next part.)

The king, Henry, had six wives, but… as the idea of illegitimate hints to, he had several mistresses. The most memorable was Mary Boleyn,

(Spot up on MARY BOLEYN)

Does the name Boleyn sound familiar? It should. Mary was the sister of Anne Boleyn, the king’s second wife and mother of the great Elizabeth, but more interestingly, before her sister’s marriage to the king while he was still married to Katherine of Aragon, Mary gave birth to two children during her affair with the king. Although both children took Mary’s husband, William Carey’s, name, most believed both to be the children of the king.

(Spot off MARY BOLEYN)

The first of these children was Catherine Carey.


Although Catherine was never officially recognized to have any royal blood than she did as Elizabeth’s first cousin, and she never ruled more than a household, and never won a battle, but her name is well marked as a companion to many as history was being written.


And then there was Henry Carey.


Henry, like his sister Catherine, was very close to Elizabeth. He sat on the side lines through most of history, only occasionally stepping into the line of fire to have his say. He seemed to like it best that way, for he never challenged his position.

(Spot off HENRY CAREY. Pause and sighs.)

One last person I should mention. Robert Dudley.

(Spot on ROBERT. Pause.)

How I mated this man. He put in danger all I had worked for. His family were traitors to the Tudor line. He, himself, was arrogant and proud well beyond the measure he deserved. How I hated this man and rightfully so, as over half the country did. This man was a plague on our country. This man would have destroyed England.

(Pause. He softens his voice.)

This man was the love of Elizabeth’s life.

(Sighs. Spot off Robert. Looks at Elizabeth sighs again and slowly walks off at stage)


Another flash of lightning, too bright for the audience to the character’s faces, then regular lights up. Everyone is gone except ELIZABETH who is now moving again.





(Singing, not seen)

Sweet, sweet Robin

(ELIZABETH hears, but does not look back)

Sing me a song

(ROBERT enters stage left and begins to cross)

Sweet, sweet Robin


(Singing together)

And nothing can ever go wrong




(Stops crossing and leans on something)



(Looks at ROBERT)


(Jumps up and runs to ROBERT)

Oh, Robert.

(ROBERT strokes her hair, trying to comfort ELIZABETH)



© 2011 ctwood

Author's Note

The title is temporary and this only the first few pages that I have written so far. I am slightly obsessed with the Tudor family and how these people must of felt, but I'm not so sure if the play will work with so much going on, but right now my worry is the prologue. Particularly my questions are: Is it too long? Should I break it down and put it in little pieces as the characters get introduced in the story line? Would that be too choppy? Is that much into really needed?

My Review

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I love that you incorporated the "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived", but I'm not too keen on the way you did it "Gestures to the appropriate women". Maybe something more poetic like he takes of the ring of Katherine of Aragon, has a red piece of ribbon that he traces against Anne B's neck, closes Seymour's eyelids; takes of Cleve's ring, does the ribbon thing with Howard, and then something creative with Parr.
Anyway, I liked it besides the whole Elizabeth being timid and such. She wasn't like that; she wasn't one to show when she was unsure. She was a flaming fire of intelligence and strong will.
I would like to see this continued, and please don't take this criticism too much to heart. Besides the "Gestures" and Elizabeth being timid thing, I honestly enjoyed reading this. I am quite the history buff myself, and having grown up in England, I am more than familiar with the Tudor family.
By the way, have you seen the Tudors show? It's fantastic.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on July 26, 2011
Last Updated on July 27, 2011
Tags: Tudors, Elizabeth, Henry