1750-1799

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Plays

video The Critic (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

Hywel Bennett, Alan Badel, Nigel Hawthorne and John Gielgud star in Sheridan's clever farce on the pretensions of the theatrical world. The Critic: or, a Tragedy Rehearsed is a political and literary satire, following in the vein of George Villiers’ The Rehearsal (1671), which takes jovial aim at the vanities of authors and politicians and at the foibles of the theatre itself.

Credits:

Lord Burleigh: John Gielgud; Mr. King/Mr. Puff: Hywel Bennett; Mr. Sneer: Nigel Hawthorne; Mrs. Dangle: Rosemary Leach; Mr. Dangle: Norman Rodway; Sir Fretful Plagiary: Alan Badel; Tiburina: Anna Massey; Constable: Rodney Bewes; Interpreter: Christopher Biggins; Director: Don Taylor; Writer: Richard B. Sheridan; Producer: Louis Marks; Costume Design: Betty Aldiss.

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

audio The Rivals

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Romantic havoc ensues in the town of Bath when Sir Anthony arrives to arrange the marriage of his son Captain Jack Absolute to the wealthy Lydia Languish. Jack and Lydia are already in love, but because of Lydia’s obsession with romantic novels, Jack has disguised himself as a poor officer named Ensign Beverly – and he is only one of Lydia’s many suitors. The Rivals was Sheridan’s first play, and this charming comedy of manners continues to be widely performed today.

Includes an interview with Linda Kelly, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of Richard Brinsley Sheridan: A Life. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Lloyd Owen as Captain Jack Absolute Lucy Davis as Lydia Languish Rosalind Ayres as Mrs. Malaprop Kenneth Danziger as Thomas Neil Dickson as David Sarah Drew as Julia Julian Holloway as Sir Lucius O’Trigger Christopher Neame as Sir Anthony Absolute Moira Quirk as Lucy Alan Shearman as Fag Simon Templeman as Bob Acres Matthew Wolf as Faulkland Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood in 2010.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Kenneth Danziger, Lucy Davis, Neil Dickson, Sarah Drew, Julian Holloway, Christopher Neame, Lloyd Owen, Moira Quirk, Alan Shearman, Simon Templeman, Matthew Wolf

The Rivals

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Rivals is a witty, pleasant and satirical comedy about love and foolishness.

Lydia Languish, whose view on life is shaped entirely by the romantic novels she reads, has fallen in love with a penniless soldier, Ensign Beverley. Beverley is in fact Captain Jack Absolute, son of a baronet, disguised to satisfy Lydia’s desires for an impoverished romantic hero. Enraged at this attachment, Lydia’s linguistically anarchic aunt, Mrs Malaprop, has arranged a match with an eligible bachelor: Captain Jack Absolute. He is thus his own rival; a sticky situation for Jack, but a brilliantly comic one for the play’s audience.

The various entanglements, fights and confusions of Lydia’s other suitors – the country bumpkin Bob Acres and the belligerent Irishman Sir Lucius – combined with the subplot of troubled romance between the earnest Julia and the flighty Faulkland, make The Rivals a delightful satire of manners and a supreme comedy.

Unlike other contemporary sentimental plays, The Rivals recalls Restoration theatre, though with an added whimsicality, charity and moral tone; whether it constitutes a complete rejection of sentimentality is a debate prolonged by the contrasting tones of the main plot and subplot.

audio The School for Scandal

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Beware the gossips! Lady Sneerwell and her hireling Snake are certainly up to no good in this timeless send-up of hypocritical manners. Thanks to their scandal-mongering, the comely Lady Teazle must fend off the slanderous barbs that have caught the ear of her elderly husband - as well as every other gossip in London! What follows is a torrent of mistaken identities and sex-crazed scheming in which the upper classes have never looked so low class.

Includes an interview with Michael Hackett, the Chair of the Department of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at the University of California-Los Angeles. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Stuart Bunce as Charles Surface Jane Carr as Mrs. Candour John H. Francis as Rowley and others Henri Lubatti as Snake, Moses and others Christopher Neame as Sir Oliver Surface Moira Quirk as Maria and Maid Julian Sands as Joseph Surface Susan Sullivan as Lady Sneerwell Tara Summers as Lady Teazle Simon Templeman as Sir Peter Teazle James Warwick as Crabtree and others Matthew Wolf as Sir Benjamin Backbite Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Stuart Bunce, Jane Carr, John Francis Harries, Henri Lubatti, Christopher Neame, Moira Quirk, Julian Sands, Susan Sullivan, Tara Summers, Simon Templeman, James Warwick, Matthew Wolf

The School for Scandal

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Sheridan’s play mixes comic situations and tender feeling with brilliant repartee and a sharp satirical edge, in a smart, witty play about the pleasures and perils of scandal.

Lady Sneerwell, experienced scandal-monger, is conspiring with the smooth Joseph Surface to break up the match between Charles (Joseph’s brother) and a young lady named Maria. Joseph wants to marry Maria for her money; Lady Sneerwell wants Charles to herself. They send out whispers of an affair between Charles and Lady Teazle, the extravagant young woman married to Sir Peter Teazle. Meanwhile, Joseph and Charles’s uncle returns from abroad, and decides to test the respective characters of his nephews by visiting them in disguise.

The plots, scandals and disguises result in brilliantly contrived comic scenes, sometimes connecting with moments of human pain and happiness, before returning to the splendid artificial world of heightened wit and heightened folly.

The School for Scandal was first performed in 1777 at the Drury Lane theatre, London.

video The School for Scandal

Stage on Screen
Type: Video

The School for Scandal was written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, with a prologue by the famous actor David Garrick, and was first performed in 1777.
It's the story of two brothers, one apparently a model citizen, the other a dissolute ne'er-do-well. But as the play progresses and the scandal-mongering backfires, the tables are turned on the siblings.
An enduring classic that still hits home today
With its themes of deceit, pride, love, gossip and capriciousness, The School for Scandal is one of the most enduring of all theatre classics. It showcases Sheridan's mastery of farce, witty dialogue and delight in satirising upper-class pretension and affectation. Above all, it shows how appearances can be deceptive, and provides much else in terms of revelation and enjoyment along the way.
Often hailed as the best comedy of manners in English, The School for Scandal has been a crowd-pleaser for centuries. As a set text for students, it has the advantage over some older plays of language that's more accessible (though exquisitely crafted).
In addition, its themes resonate even (or perhaps especially) today. As The New York Times said about one 2001 production: 'The classy antidote one needs in a celebrity-crazed world where the invasion of privacy is out of control, but the art of gossip is nonexistent.'
Director: Elizabeth Freestone.
Featuring: Joanna Christie, Beatrice Curnew, Amy Rockson, Harvey Virdi, Jonathan Battersby, Guy Burgess, Samuel Collings, Mark Extance, Gareth Kennerley, Adam Redmore, Tim Treloar, Conrad Westmaas

She Stoops to Conquer

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Populated by a sweep of brilliant comic characters, She Stoops to Conquer is a spirited comedy of mischief and misunderstanding, as the gallant Marlow mistakes his intended well-born bride for a barmaid.

Young Marlow is petrified in the presence of women of his own class, but rampantly flirtatious with the serving classes. To his alarm, he has been sent, accompanied by his friend Hastings who has his own agenda, to meet the bride his father has chosen for him: the daughter of a respected gentleman, Mr Hardcastle. They have got lost in the dark country roads, and unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – the mischievous Tony Lumpkin convinces them that the old country house is an inn, Mr Hardcastle its eccentric innkeeper, and Kate Hardcastle its barmaid.

Kate, enjoying as a consequence Marlow’s palpable ardour, chooses not to undeceive him, until a delightful flurry of trifling confusions and eavesdroppings have made way for a pleasingly neat happy ending.

Goldsmith’s play was first performed in 1773 at the Covent Garden theatre, London, and its well-meaning comic exuberance has made it a favourite on the stage from Goldsmith’s day to ours.

audio She Stoops to Conquer

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In this classic comedy of manners, two young men set out to woo the alluring and upper-crust Kate and Constance. But is anybody in this rural estate ruly who they seem? Bawdy hijinks and popped pretensions are the hallmarks of this romping frolic that’s kept audiences laughing for over two centuries.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Rosalind Ayres as Mrs. Hardcastle Adam Godley as Tony Lumpkin Julian Holloway as Elder Marlow and Stingo James Marsters as Charles Marlow Christopher Neame as Roger Paula Jane Newman as Bet Bouncer and Pimple Ian Ogilvy as Mr. Hardcastle Moira Quirk as Constance Neville Darren Richardson as Diggory and Jeremy Joanne Whalley as Kate Hardcastle Matthew Wolf as George Hastings Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Adam Godley, Julian Holloway, James Marsters, Christopher Neame, Paula Jane Newman, Ian Ogilvy, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson, Joanne Whalley, Matthew Wolf

The Wardrobe

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Sam Holcroft's The Wardrobe is a play exploring British history, how the country was shaped, and how connected we are with our past. It was commissioned as part of the 2014 National Theatre Connections Festival and premiered by youth theatres across the UK.

The play's action is set in different time periods across several centuries, all within the same large wardrobe. In each scene, a group of children climb into the wardrobe, seeking sanctuary of one sort or another. There are twelve scenes in all, ranging from the bedchamber of Elizabeth of York on 27 October 1485, to 'a museum, somewhere in Britain, 2014'.

For the first performances, given as part of the National Theatre Connections Festival in 2014, groups were required to select nine of the possible twelve scenes to perform; they were free to choose their preferred scenes. An author's note included in the playtext states that 'This rule can also be applied to subsequent productions of the play.'