Lavish and grandiose; the Freemason’s Hall on Molesworth street, was set to be the location of DU History’s annual mock trial event. ‘The King’s Good Servant’ aimed to please and inform the crowd on the facts and feelings of Henry VIII’s infamous informer; Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell.
The trial was opened by Jack Dykstra-McCarthy who acted as the mediator for the opening statements. Professor Ciarán Brady of Early Modern History and Historiography set the scene with a verbose and loquacious case on behalf of Thomas More, and Dr. Graeme Murdock of European History was humorous and forgiving in his speech supporting Thomas Cromwell.
Their pleas, equally as convincing, were punctuated with humour and strong bold statements which referred to More as a “liberal, humanist and tolerant person”, while Cromwell “changed with the wind” for his own benefit.
After a needed ten minute toilet break, the stage was set for the drama to commence. A bright white light shone down the hall towards the King’s throne, as the audience sat facing one another – as if in a courtroom.
The drama, though rather long and contained some unnecessary details, was informative and enjoyable. The direction by Amelia McConville was sublime with quick definite movements being contrasted with long sweeping cascades across the hall as characters entered and exited the space with zest and purpose.
The use of a drum emphasised the entrance of important figures such as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Commendations of complex and compelling performances are worthy for Liam Forbes Van-Laere and Sorcha Brennan who assimilated these roles respectively.
Other characterisations such as Cromwell, played by Thomas Emmet, began with a shaky start but soon found their rhythm.
All-in-all, the Tudor times and the convoluted politics of the era were brought to life by the cast and their aptly styled costumes courtesy of Laura McDonagh. It was a pleasant and occasionally amusing experience despite the fact that a death was sentenced at the end. A successful execution from both a theatrical and a historical point-of-view.
Photos by Úna Harty.