Holiday family gatherings can bring out the worst in people, renewing rivalries and battles that were all but forgotten. Make that family the British monarchy, and it's exacerbated on (sorry) a royal scale. James Goldmans play, The Lion in Winter, depicts these interpersonal relationships gone awry among the British royal family during Christmas Eve and Christmas day 1183. King Henry II has let his wife Eleanor out of prison to celebrate Christmas with the family. The king prefers as heir to the throne the youngest son John, but Eleanor favors Richard, a soldier and poet. Geoffrey, the middle son, is not considered. But the complications are more. Frances King Philip II visits, reminding Henry that he promised years ago to marry his heir to Philips sister Alais. But for seven years Alais has been Henrys mistress, and hes conflicted about one of his sons marrying her. Each family member conspires and counterconspires, and their deep emotional bonds are played out on the political stage until treason, civil war, and homicide are at risk.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through Jan. 15, 2011