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Aphra Behn's The Rover

18th - 21st June 2008

 

Aphra Benn was the first female playwright of England. She was exiled during the Interregnum after the English Civil War but returned with Charles II in 1660. The new king allowed women on stage and actively encouraged Mrs Behn. “The Rover” was a firm favourite until the 19th Century when Victorian morality led to its disappearance from the repertoire.

Three noble sisters are living in a Spanish colony in the 1650s. Their brother, Don Pedro has arranged unpalatable marriages for the elder two (Florinda and Valeria) and a thrilling career as a nun for the youngest and wittiest (Hellena). However it is carnival time, so the girls plan to disguise themselves and go out and party.

They meet three dashing Cavaliers in exile from Cromwell’s England. Belville is in love with Florinda, Frederick is his friend and Willmore (the Rover) is their wild roistering mate.  These three are also accompanied by a fourth Englishman, the idiot Ned Blunt. Also in town in Angelica-Bianca, a famous courtesan, who charges a thousand crowns for an hour’s conversation.

Willimore is determined to seduce Angelica-Bianca, Hellena determines to seduce Willimore and Belville and Florinda attempt to elope. There are fights, alarums, drunken roistering and wit. All in all a swashbuckling Restoration romp.

CAST:

FLORINDA, VALERIA, HELLENA - Sisters to Don Pedro
ANGELICA-BIANCA, a famous Courtesan
MORETTA – her woman

LUCETTA – a prostitute

DON PEDRO – brother to the sisters
STEPHANO and CALLIS – his servants
DON ANTONIO, his friend the Viceroy’s son, suitor to Florinda
DIEGO, Page to Don Antonio

BELVILE, an English Colonel in love with Florinda
WILLMORE, the ROVER
FREDERICK, an English Gentleman, and Friend to Belvile and Blunt
BLUNT, an English Country Gentleman (and idiot)
PHILLIP – their servant

SANCHO, Pimp to Lucetta
BISKY and SEBASTIAN, two Bravoes to Angelica
PAGE to HELLENA

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