The Prince is the first play from Abigail Thorn, creator of the hugely popular web show Philosophy Tube, which she has built to more than one million subscribers since it was established in 2013. It is a web-show that she researches, writes, produces, directs and stars in every episode herself – Vox called her 2019 video Men, Abuse, Trauma “one of the best TV episodes of the year.”
Abigail graduated drama school in 2017. In 2019 she made headlines by performing the complete works of Shakespeare 24/7 for five days, livestreamed over the Internet and raising $130,000 for Samaritans alongside celebrity guests including Mara Wilson. Her stage credits include HAMM (RADA festival), Thursday (Southwark Playhouse), and Much Ado About Nothing (outdoor tour). Her screen credits include Django (Sky), Ladhood (BBC3), and Chivalry (Channel 4). As a writer she helped create Immersive Dracula (Electrowerkz), which sold out before being cut short by COVID.
In 2021 Abigail publicly announced she was transgender in Identity: A Trans Coming Out Story, which she posted on her YouTube channel.
The Prince – which she both wrote and will star in – adds another vital layer to her already impressive voice.
It is billed as being “a sharply and passionately written story about the roles we play for other people. The script is an exciting blend of verse and prose, ducking and weaving through Henry IV Part One and other works of the Bard, with fun for both Shakespeare scholars and verse virgins. Swordfighting, lesbianism, denial, disappointed parents, and a magical doorway. All the world’s a stage…”
Trapped within the confines of Henry IV Part One, Jen and Sam know they do not belong here, or in the many Shakespeare plays they have unwillingly flitted between.
They are not like the others; they are not mere characters fated to repeat the words and actions written for them. They belong in the real world. And they are going to find their way out.
But on their quest to discover the path that leads to reality, they notice that there’s something unusual about Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy, the son of the Earl of Northumberland. For perhaps he is more than a character too … perhaps he isn’t a nobleman … perhaps he isn’t a man at all…
Now Jen and Sam must decide; do they risk losing their way home to help someone who might just be like them – who does not yet know who they truly are?
Talking about The Prince in a press release Abigail said: “The Prince is a show about being trapped in bad relationships – with parents, friends, lovers, and even with yourself. The story follows a handful of characters in a Shakespeare play who start to realise they are all stuck inside a performance. Some are in denial about their sexuality and gender, others are just trying to prepare the next generation for the struggles ahead. My genius dramaturge Donnacadh O’Briain describes it as “Elizabethan scifi” – I tell friends it’s “Like The Matrix if it was written in 1600.”
THE PRINCE By Abigail Thorn, Southwark Playhouse
15 September – 8th October 2022.