Part fact, part fiction, "Orange Woman, A Ballad for a Moor" imagines how Lucy Morgan, Queen Elizabeth I's favorite dancer, became Lucy Negro, the most notorious brothel keeper of Clerkenwell, London. Thrown out of Whitehall Palace on her sixteenth birthday by an aging and jealous Elizabeth I, Lucy falls into and out of love with William Shakespeare, realizing that in order to own her own dance, she must forsake the love of her poetic admirer.
Written by Roger Q. Mason, a senior at Princeton University who majored in English with Certificates in Theater and African American Studies. Mason was inspired to write the play by Shakespeare's Dark Lady Sonnets, the intriguing history of Africans in Elizabethan England, and folktales from the Elizabethan underworld. Generously funded by Princeton University's Peter B. Lewis Fund for Summer Research, The A. Scott Berg Scholarship, The Fred Fox Fund, and The Center for African American Studies, Mason studied at Oxford University and researched in London and Stratford-upon-Avon the summer prior to discover more about life and times in Elizabeth I's England. The result was "Orange Woman, a Ballad for a Moor."
The production ran April 4-5, 10-12, 2008 at McCarter Theatre Center's Berlind Theatre and was a part of the 2007-2008 Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts senior thesis season. The production was directed by Chicago-based guest director Kemati Porter and choreographed by Dyane Harvey Salaam, a Princeton University Lecturer and Founding Member of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre.