The Ashes of Aquitaine

Written by Glen "Rusty" Harding and Leigh Wyatt Moore

July, 1189. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the estranged wife of King Henry II of England, has been urgently summoned to Henry's summer palace in Chinon, France. Imprisoned for the past 16 years, by her own husband, for having aided their eldest son in a failed coup against his father. Eleanor is suddenly tasked with arranging a truce between an ailing King Henry and another rebellious son, Richard; known as "the Lionheart." Richard has allied himself with Philip Augustus, the young and ambitious king of France, who is eager to reclaim French territories previously conquered by England. With Philip's blessing, Richard is now marching on Chinon with a massive army. Henry is dying, but he desperately wants to maintain peace within his kingdom and pleads with Eleanor to intermediate with Richard, admittedly her favorite offspring. But Eleanor detests Henry, not only for her imprisonment, but also for his years of infidelity and neglect. Only the promise of freedom will entice the bitter and aging queen to accept Henry's appeal. Standing in her way is her youngest son, Prince John; a drunken wastrel who wants the kingdom for his own selfish pleasures. Yet Eleanor's worst enemy is her own hatred of Henry, and the memories of a tragic and wasted life as queen. Their rancorous sparring threatens not only the cherished peace, but Henry's ever-weakening health.

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Reading performed by Altered Shakespeare

Playwright Interview

Playwright Bios

Glen "Rusty" Harding is a Dallas, Texas-area playwright/author, whose previous works include Fly Babies, Never Call Me a Lady, Romeo and What's Her Name, and There's No Place Like Homer (Heuer Publishing), as well as Weston Union and "oodles, Postmen, and Pastrami (Heartland Plays). He has also published two novels, The Instrument of Darkness and Murphy's Law (The Fiction Works). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and, along with co-writer Leigh Wyatt Moore, he is a founding member of Lunatic Theatre Company in Richardson, Texas.

Leigh Wyatt Moore is an actor/director with numerous acting credits in the Dallas-Fort Worth theater community, and has directed more than a dozen stage plays, including The Savannah Sipping Society, Texas Double-Wide, and Fly Babies, a Lunatic Theatre Company original production. Ashes of Aquitaine is her first foray into playwriting.