The Beaux' Stratagem in NYC
I am excited to announce that on Monday, May 14th, The Acting Company and Red Bull Theatre will co-produce a reading of The Beaux' Stratagem! The play premiered at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. in 2006, under the direction of Michael Kahn and this reading will reunite many of the original cast members.
Here's a brief summer of the story behind this adaptation: In the summer of 2004, the Estate of Thornton Wilder asked me to complete a play that Wilder had begun in 1939 and never finished. It was an adaptation of The Beaux’ Stratagem, a classic piece of late Restoration comedy written in 1707 by the British playwright George Farquhar (author of The Recruiting Officer). Wilder had made a brilliant start – he’d finished about half of it – and I was delighted to be asked to complete the rest.
Monday's reading will be directed by Stephen Fried and the cast features Christian Conn, Veanne Cox, Christopher Innvar, Julia Coffey, Patricai Connelly, Glenn Fleshler, Greg Jackson, Julie Jesneck, Dakin Matthews, Everett Quinton, Brian Reddy, Gareth Saxe, Michele Tauber, Andrew Weems and more.
The play, set in 1707 in Lichfield, England, tells the story of two young bucks who, having spent all their money by living too well, leave London and roam from town to town in search of love and fortune. In order to find a wealthy heiress for at least one of them, they pose as master and servant – exchanging roles from one town to the next. In Lichfield, Aimwell is the master and Archer the servant, and there they meet the lovely, wealthy Dorinda and her equally desirable sister-in-law, Mrs. Kate Sullen. They set their caps for these women, but problems abound. Kate is married to a drunken sot who despises her; the innkeeper’s saucy daughter, Cherry, has set her cap for Archer; Dorinda’s mother, Lady Bountiful, mistakenly believes herself to be a great healer of the sick, and she guards her daughter like a dragoness; and a band of brigands plans to rob the house of Lady Bountiful that very night, putting all schemes in jeopardy.
This is a play in the great tradition of Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer and Sheridan’s The Rivals and The School for Scandal. It is classic, formal, robust and hilarious.