In this space, we will publish videos every week from our evening of online play-reading that we held on 9 September so that you can have a taste of theatre even in these difficult times when we can’t physically go to one.
‘THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST’
BY OSCAR WILDE
Performed by Lucy Jepson and Charlotte Creasey
First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James’s Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play’s major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage, and the resulting satire of Victorian ways.
BY RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN
Performed by David Gelipter and Lynda Liddament
This comedy in five acts was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre on 17 January 1775. The play is set in 18th-century Bath, a town that was legendary for conspicuous consumption and fashion at the time. The plot centres on the romantic difficulties of Lydia Languish, who is determined to marry for love and into poverty. Realizing this, the aristocratic Captain Jack Absolute woos her while claiming to be Ensign Beverley. But her aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, will not permit her to wed a mere ensign, and Lydia will lose half her fortune if she marries without her aunt’s permission.
‘THE TAMING OF THE SHREW’
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Performed by Lucy Jepson and Oliver Jenkinson
This comedy is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1592. The main plot depicts the courtship of Petruchio and Katherina, the headstrong, obdurate shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship; however, Petruchio “tames” her with various psychological torments, such as keeping her from eating and drinking, until she becomes a desirable, compliant, and obedient bride.
BY HENRIK IBSEN
Performed by Mira Lieberman and Nick Lewis
‘Rosmersholm’ which was first performed in 1887 has been described as one of Ibsen’s most complex, subtle, multilayered and ambiguous plays. The play’s plot revolves around ex-parson Johannes Rosmer, a representative of high ethical standards, and his housekeeper, the adventuress Rebecca West. Both are haunted by the spirit of Rosmer’s late wife who committed suicide – and we will tell you no more to avoid spoilers!
‘NAMING OF PARTS’
BY HENRY REED
Performed by Nick Lewis
Our latest evening of readings took place on 11 November – Remembrance Day. So it seems appropriate that we should begin our selection of recordings from that evening with Nick Lewis reading ‘Naming of parts’, a poem by Henry Reed (1914-1986).