Residency artists and researchers

Performing arts, performance art

Nina’s Drag Queens

Drag group

Queen Lear is King Lear by Shakespeare turned into a musical play en travesti. The tragedy, performed by five drag queens and directed by Francesco Micheli, has been renewed and re-written by the British playwright Claire Dowie and the Italian composer Enrico Melozzi.

Queen Lear is the new production by Nina’s Drag Queens. The show, written and performed in English, will debut in season 2018/2019. The company is currently looking for productive partners and venues, worldwide.

An elderly lady, who moved from Italy to UK in the 50’s and opened a little doll shop, is now facing the end of her business and of her life. Struggling with her physical decay, she is unable to give way to new generations, and to separate herself from her things, in spite of the efforts of her three daughters and of the loyal friend Mrs. Kent.

The Shakespearean themes are now associated to a contemporary, stark atmosphere, where castles become studio apartments, the moors are hospices, and the madness is Alzheimer’s disease. In this harsh world, the old “queen” has no place to go but a hospice and here her epic visions – such as knights, wars, and medieval kingdoms – come to life.

Queen Lear deals with some uncomfortable themes of our time, such as old age, illness and death, on the background of a generation with a hard legacy on his back, a generation of children who may never be fathers.

Nina’s Drag Queens is a group of actors and dancers who has found in the figure of the drag queen the best expression of their idea of theatre.

Born in 2007 at Teatro Ringhiera in Milan (Italy), Nina’s group was founded by Fabio Chiesa, under the artistic direction of Francesco Micheli. Its research is inspired by the drag queen aesthetics, combined with prose theatre. The first experiment of an en travesti version of a theatre classic dates back to 2012 with Cherry Garden, from Chekhov’s masterpiece The Cherry Orchard.

Nina’s Drag Queens’ theatre is made of songs, movies extracts and theatre plays performed in lip-sync, combined with live acting and choreographies. It’s a theatre that re-use existing materials and develops them in a new context, which overlaps genres. This theatre experiences the influences of cinema, pop culture, opera: here the showgirl and the diva coexist, Gloria Geynor’s repertoire and Giuseppe Verdi’s arias go hand in hand.

The drag queens usually perform as solo artists or as anchor-women and entertainers during cabaret and variety shows. Nina’s Drag Queens instead have always worked on a choral, group-based concept in a theatrical perspective. Their work resembles the clown’s: they wear a costume, a mask and sometimes border on ridiculous. As for the real clown, tough, a drag queen, as the group perceives it, not only makes the audience laugh, but also moves it.