The Victorian Players is billing its next production as ''the original 'Game of Thrones.'''
Don't look for any sexposition or graphic bloodshed like the HBO series, but expect plenty of political intrigue as different factions jostle for control of the throne in ''The Lion in Winter,'' which opens Friday for a three-weekend run.
''The Lion in Winter'' takes place during Christmas of 1183 at the chateau of King Henry II. Act I opens with the arrival of Henry's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who Henry had imprisoned a decade ago. The entire action of the play revolves around the gamesmanship among Eleanor, Henry, their sons, Phillip II of France and Phillip's half-sister, Alais. Alais has been at court since she was 8 years old, when she was betrothed to one of the sons but has since become Henry's mistress.
Sons Richard, Geoffrey and John all are vying for position as each hopes to be the heir to Henry's throne. Eleanor favors Richard to succeed Henry, while Henry leans toward John. To complicate matters, Phillip II has arrived on the scene to remind the King about a treaty he signed many years before promising to marry his heir to Alais.
Terry Shears and Molly Galano play Henry II and Eleanor, the roles played by Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn in the 1968 film version. Hepburn tied for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Eleanor, and Rosemary Harris won the Tony Award for Best Actress as Eleanor in the 1966 Broadway production.
Sam Luptak Jr. directs the Victorian production, and the rest of the cast includes Eric Kibler, Craig Conrad, Hunter Thompson, Liz Conrad and Matthew Schoemer.
''The Lion in Winter'' will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and June 14-16 and 22-23 and 2 p.m. Sunday and June 24 at the Victorian Players Theater, 702 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. For the June 14 performance, fathers will be admitted for free when accompanied by a paid admission. The theater also will be raffling off the original jewelry, designed by Robert Dennick Joki, worn on stage by Galano (Eleanor) and Liz Conrad (Alais).
For reservations or more information, call 330-746-5455.