Performing <i>The Tragedy of Mariam</i> and Constructing Stage History


  • Ramona Wray Queen's University Belfast



Performance, Mariam, Cary, women writers, theatre


Since the rediscovery of Elizabeth Cary’s drama, The Tragedy of Mariam, the play and its author have generated a veritable critical industry. Yet little has been written about performance, a lacuna explained by a reluctance to think about Mariam as a theatrical creation. This article challenges the current consensus by arguing for the play’s theatrical imprint and by analysing two 2013 performances – a site-specific production at Cary’s birthplace, and a production by the Lazarus Theatre Company. Throughout, Mariam is engaged with in terms of casting, costume, lighting, set and movement, issues that have mostly been bypassed in Cary studies.

Author Biography

Ramona Wray, Queen's University Belfast

Ramona Wray ( is reader in Renaissance literature at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is the editor of the Arden Early Modern Drama edition of Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam (2012), the author of Women Writers in the Seventeenth Century (2004), and the co-author of Great Shakespeareans: Welles, Kurosawa, Kozintsev, Zeffirelli (2013). She is also the co-editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts (2011), Screening Shakespeare in the Twenty-First Century (2006), Reconceiving the Renaissance: A Critical Reader (2005), Shakespeare, Film, Fin de Siècle (2000) and Shakespeare and Ireland: History, Politics, Culture (1997). Her articles on Shakespeare appropriation and early modern women’s writing have appeared in Shakespeare Bulletin, Shakespeare Quarterly and Women’s Writing.








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