During the Third Crusade, a knight, called Sir Steven DeVere, arrives at an enchanted island, reputed to contain a great treasure. Legend says it is ruled by a beautiful princess, who has repulsed all attackers. Sir Steven had boasted to King Richard, that he could win by charm what others have failed to win by force. On arriving at the castle, he finds the princess open to conversation, but more than his match in intelligence and wit. Reluctantly, at first, the princess engages in conversation with the knight, who tells stories of romance or intrigue, as Julia also reveals some of her own past. The knight has his layers of guile gradually stripped away, and he finds himself transformed by the island, and the ever deepening conversation. Sir Steven has only a few days leave from the king, so vowing to return, he departs to rejoin the court. For two years he is caught up with rescuing King Richard from imprisonment by the Holy Roman Emperor. Finally returning to the castle, he discovers Princess Julia on the verge of madness, isolated and alone, finding the castle to be more a prison than a fortress. She also reveals that all the treasure of the island was consumed building the castle to defend it. Sir Steven says that the real treasure in the castle is the princess herself. Together they vow to bring down the walls, and to plant seeds to replace the lost meadows and forests, that existed before the stifling fortifications were built.
Inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the talk of a "peace dividend", the play also incorporates stylistic elements from early romances, and some structural elements of The Interior Castle, by Saint Teresa of Avila, but repurposed to a dialogue where two people finding earthly love.
The Princess in the Tower guide sections