Billy Surface

Interviews

Monet Lerner Slays as Medieval Times’ First Ruling Queen

For the first time in its 34-year history, Medieval Times has cast a woman as the lead in its new show.

I hear congratulations are in order for your big promotion to queen. This is the first time in Medieval Times’ 34-year history that they’ve had a woman as the show’s lead, right? There’s been a king and queen before, but there’s never been a queen as the sole ruler. What you find out at the beginning of the show is that my father has passed away, and I have taken over the kingdom.

So as queen, the first item on your agenda is to host a jousting contest to pick your husband? [laughs] No, no, no, no. It’s kind of funny, because we call that out in the show as well. It’s like, “This is not about royal matchmaking, Cedric.” You know? We’re not doing that. It’s about finding a new champion of the realm.

How did you ascend to the throne? Well, I am an actress, and I majored in musical theater performance at the KD Conservatory in Dallas. I had already graduated, and I was visiting the school and saw a posting on our little bulletin board that they were auditioning for a new princess. I’d never been to Medieval Times, but I was just like, “I’ve always wanted to go to that castle I’ve seen off of Stemmons Freeway!”

Did you have to learn how to ride a horse for the role? Yeah, I did. When I first started working here and I met the writer of the show, I was like, “So, when are the princesses gonna do combat? I want to fight.” So when I got the news that we were going to be able to ride a horse in this show, it was just so exciting. I had ridden a little bit back in my childhood days, Western saddle, but it wasn’t anything like this. For this, we ride English and Spanish saddle. Basically, we have been training for a little over a month now.

The last time I was on a horse, I almost backed into an electric fence. Have you had any mishaps? [laughs] No, because our horse trainer teaches us not only how to ride but also preventative measures. You have to be engaged constantly. You can’t have any nerves or any inkling of doubt, because the horse can read it. But, man, it’s so rewarding. The first time I cantered, I just felt like I was riding off into the sunset like I always dreamed. It was just an amazing experience, really.

What kind of ruler do you plan to be? A Machiavellian schemer, a benevolent matriarch, or a mother of dragons? Doña Maria Isabella is very kind, but she’s also not gonna let anybody put her down just because she’s a woman. There’s a couple of times when the men of the realm get a little feisty, and she has to come in and be like, “You know what? The choice isn’t yours, it’s mine—because I have the blood of kings in my blood.”

Is it true that the 700-plus costumes required for the new show, which is performed at all nine castles around North America, are made here in Dallas in the Design District? Yes. I actually had the opportunity to go to the costume shop for the first time this week. It’s unbelievable. I was just floored.

Would you have your rivals killed by poison, beheading, burning at the stake, or Game of Thrones-style, by feeding them to their own dogs? That’s a loaded question. Let’s see—can I make up my own option?

Absolutely, you are the queen. I would kill them with kindness.

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