Vivat! Vivat Regina!
The play tells the story of two rival monarchs who never met: Scotland's Mary, Queen of Scots and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. The play's title is Latin for "Long live! Long live the Queen!", and is taken from the acclamation at the Coronation Service.
The first act contrasts the personalities of the two monarchs, as they engage in a battle of wiles. Elizabeth is portrayed as a woman who has given up on love and family in order to maintain a firm grasp on power, while Mary is portrayed as a reckless, impulsive woman ready to risk power for love.
The second act concentrates on Mary's term as a prisoner of Elizabeth, during which time she reflected on her own pending execution.
Eileen Atkins played Elizabeth in the play's British and American debuts. Bolt's wife Sarah Miles played Mary in the original British production, while Claire Bloom played Mary in the play's Broadway debut. A 1985 off-Broadway revival featured Geraldine Page as Elizabeth and Sabra Jones as Mary. 
The play was, next to A Man for All Seasons, Bolt's most successful stage production, receiving several Tony nominations for its Broadway production.
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