Sofonisba

After studying with Michelangelo, 27-year-old Sofonisba Anguissola boards a ship from Italy to Spain to paint for King Philip II. Her 20 years at the Royal Court are one long chess game, since Sofonisba must play to and against the expectations of the king, the bishop, the fool, a lovelorn knight, and a 14-year-old queen. What negotiations and sacrifices did she make in the service of her art, and how did she...
After studying with Michelangelo, 27-year-old Sofonisba Anguissola boards a ship from Italy to Spain to paint for King Philip II. Her 20 years at the Royal Court are one long chess game, since Sofonisba must play to and against the expectations of the king, the bishop, the fool, a lovelorn knight, and a 14-year-old queen. What negotiations and sacrifices did she make in the service of her art, and how did she navigate the tricky waters of court politics as an unmarried woman? A play about the hunger for creation--of birth and of art--and what it costs. The play can be done with three actors or as many as seven, if the male roles are split. Unproduced. SETTING The Spanish Court of King Philip II, 1560-1571. And two ships, 20 years apart. CHARACTERS SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA. Italian. 27 when the play starts. 47 when it ends. Court painter to King Philip II of Spain. QUEEN ISABEL. French. 14 when the play starts. Queen of Spain, Philip’s second wife. BISHOP ESPINOZA. Spanish. Late 50s. His paternalism is benign and suits the time. KING PHILIP. Spanish. 32 at the start of the play. A good husband, but still a king. DON FRANCISCO FABRIZIO DE MONCADA PIGNATELLI DEL PATERNO. Sicilian. Around 40. He is the son of a prince. Tragically earnest. THE FOOL. Scottish and ageless. ORAZIO LOMELLINO. Italian. 30s. Handsome and strong.
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Sofonisba

Recommended by

  • 27 Apr. 2016
    It is the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's pleasure to recommend Callie Kimball and their play Sofonisba as a finalist for our 2016 National Playwrights Conference. The play rose through a competitive, anonymous, multileveled selection process that took nearly nine months to execute. As one of 54 finalists out of more than 1,450 submissions, the strength of its writing has allowed this work to prosper in such a competitive selection process. Our readers especially appreciated how the intimacy of the casting allows for a real richness of characters across the years.
  • Kari Bentley-Quinn:
    1 Jul. 2015
    One of my favorites of Callie's plays - a lush look at the choices women must make, and what it means to wholly devote yourself to your craft. Even though it is a period piece, it never feels heavy or antiquated. The characters are rich and layered, and it has a delicious sense of humor while also being moving and heartwrenching.

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Florida Studio Theatre
    ,
    2017
  • Workshop
    ,
    Little Festival of the Unexpected, Portland Stage Company
    ,
    2016
  • Workshop
    ,
    Dramatic Repertory Company
    ,
    2016
  • Workshop
    ,
    Lark Play Development Center
    ,
    2015
  • Reading
    ,
    National Museum of Women in the Arts (with WSC)
    ,
    2009
  • Reading
    ,
    Project Y
    ,
    2009
  • Workshop
    ,
    Electric Pear Productions
    ,
    2009
  • Reading
    ,
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    ,
    2008

Awards

Semi-Finalist
,
Ashland New Play Festival
,
2017
Winner
,
Clauder Gold Prize
,
Portland Stage Company
,
2016
Finalist
,
O'Neill Playwrights Conference
,
2016
Selection
,
The Kilroys' List
,
2016
Semi-Finalist
,
Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship
,
2016
Semi-Finalist
,
Shakespeare's Sister Award
,
AROHO
,
2015
Honorable Mention
,
The Kilroys' List
,
2015
Semi-Finalist
,
Playwrights' Week
,
Lark Play Development Center
,
2010