Wonder of Our Stage imagines that Queen Elizabeth commissions John Dee to find a Husband for her that is neither a subject nor a foreign prince, and Dee decides to make a husband for her (Pinocchio style). After he brings this wooden Automaton to life, the Queen rejects it, calling it a toy. Dee is convinced that he can make Queen Elizabeth love this creation, if he can make him act more like a man. So he hires the actor Richard Burbage to teach him how to “act like a man” and this begins the path toward the Automaton becoming William Shakespeare.
It’s a funny, weird story that asks deep questions about what it means to be human, and why people are so compelled to create art.
Wonder of Our Stage was selected for a staged reading as part of the Players Centre’s 2018 New Play Festival (in Sarasota) and out of the five plays included in that festival won “Best Play.” Monica Cross was awarded the 2019 John Ringling Towers Individual Artist Award for Performing Arts for this script.
Wonder of Our Stage will be performed September 8-10 and 15-17 at Silk Moth Stage.
This project is made possible, in part, through a grant from Arts Council of the Valley.
Auditions are open! More info on our audition page.
About the director
Aili Huber has been directing for 30 years, specializing in text-driven, audience-connected, actor-centered work. She holds an MFA from Mary Baldwin College/American Shakespeare Center, and is the co-author, with Toby Malone, of Cutting Plays for Performance, published by Routledge Press. She also has developed Take 5, a framework to reduce trauma for theater workers.
Favorite directing credits include TJ Young’s Sperm Donor Wanted with Slow Your Role Theater Co., Pam
Mandigo’s Give Us Good with Silk Moth Stage, The Duchess of Malfi, Antony and
Cleopatra, and Richard III with Pigeon Creek Shakespeare, and Merry Wives of Windsor at Quill Theatre.
Aili is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Shakespeare Theater Association, and a member of Directors Gathering. She’s certified in Mental Health First Aid.
About the playwright
Monica Cross is a playwright in northwestern Wisconsin, and alum of Mary Baldwin University’s Shakespeare and Performance M.Litt./MFA program. Her first full-length play, Wonder of Our Stage, was the winner of the 2018 Players New Play Festival in Sarasota, FL, and went on to be included in their Summer Sizzler Series in 2019. For this play, she received the 2019 John Ringling Towers Individual Artist Award for Performing Arts. Her new play in development is The Aria of Julie d’Aubigny, the cross-dressing, sword-fighting opera singer, wherein she seduces men and women alike, wins numerous duels, must be twice pardoned by the King, and eventually finds true love., which was a semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the ASC’s Shakespeare New Contemporaries competition in 2021. Her work has been produced at several fringe festivals across the country, including her one-act sequel to Cyrano de Bergerac, “Cyrano on the Moon” (Tampa Fringe 2017 and Minnesota Fringe 2018). Her publications include: “On Robots and Raindrops,” published in 2022 in Ten-Minute Play Festival, Volume Four: 2018 – 2021 by Theatre Odyssey and “By the Neon Lights of the Taco Bell Sign,” in the forthcoming volume of Best 10-minute plays 2023 by Smith & Kraus, inc. She was a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in 2019, and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. Her plays can be found on the New Play Exchange, and more about her work can be found at www.monicacross.com.