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Jan. 30 2012

The Gaming Table

By Judith Krummeck | Posted in Host Blogs | No Comments

Restoration comedy—the stuff of sexual innuendo and other extravagances following the reopening of the London theatres by Charles II—is most famously represented by writers like John Dryden and William Congreve.  (I once played the silly, awkward, country girl, Miss Prue, in Congreve’s Love for Love when I was a drama student – imagine that!)

But, even though I studied restoration comedy and have had an acquaintance with it as a theatre goer, I had never heard of Susanna Centlivre—that is, until the Folger Theatre presented The Gaming Table.  They had the press preview last night.  It has been directed by Baltimore area native, Eleanor Holdridge (who directed Everyman Theatre’s Pygmalion recently).  In her program note she says,

 “As a woman director working on a play from one of the few Restoration women playwright, I have found inspiration through the centuries.  Centlivre walks a tightrope, I believe, in creating a romantic comedy, while ensuring that the women are not simply ciphers of the men they marry, but independent thinkers who find love without compromising other ambitions.”

If you think that women’s roles were still played by men in Shakespeare’s time, just 100 years before Centlivre became a celebrity playwright, it is particularly fascinating to see a play so driven by the female characters.  This production is part of Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2012 celebration of one thousand years of women writers—and it’s a wonderful romp.

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Judith Krummeck

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Judith is WBJC's afternoon host. Her full bio can be read here.

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