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World Premiere

Scenes from Court Life

or the whipping boy and his prince

September 30–October 22, 2016

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey
Commissioned by Yale Rep

University Theatre, 222 York Street


History, remixed. In 17th-century Great Britain, the Stuarts—Charles I and Charles II—defend their divine rights, with the help of a whipping boy. In our own time, Jeb and George W. Bush play hardball—both politics and tennis—battling for power, as siblings and statesmen. By turns intimate and epic, Sarah Ruhl’s astonishing new play reveals the cost of dynastic privilege.

Scenes from Court Life is the recipient of a 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

Development and production support are provided by Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre.

The Artists

Creative Team

Sarah Ruhl

"'We elect a king for four years.' So said William Seward, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State. I found myself meditating on dynastic succession and democracy while the primary season heated up. I’m thrilled to be back at Yale Rep with Mark Wing-Davey and his epic imagination, during a season in which our democracy seems like just as wild an experiment as our theatres."

Sarah Ruhl


Mark Wing-Davey

"I'm pleased to be back at Yale Rep for the third time, and to be continuing my long association with Sarah and her distinctive and provocative voice. Scenes from Court Life has emerged as a fantastical, very funny, and very touching new play."

Mark Wing-Davey


Cast Members

Jeff BiehlJeff Biehl

Groom of the Stool, Executioner, Karl Rove

Angel DesaiAngel Desai

Harpsichord Player, Laura Bush, Music Director

Greg KellerGreg Keller

Charles II, George W. Bush

Keren LugoKeren Lugo

Catherine of Braganza, Columba Bush

Mary ShultzMary Shultz

Barbara Bush

T. Ryder SmithT. Ryder Smith

Charles I, George H.W. Bush

Andrew WeemsAndrew Weems

Tutor, Inigo Jones, Bonnie Flood, et al

Danny WolohanDanny Wolohan

A Whipping Boy, Jeb Bush